Emergency medical technician
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Ambulance Technician are terms used in some countries to denote a healthcare provider of emergency medical services. Common terms, pejorative or obsolete in some cases, include ambulance driver, ambulance orderly, ambulance attendant and ambulanceman or woman.
The precise meaning of the term varies by jurisdiction, many countries EMTs respond to emergency calls, perform certain medical procedures and transport patients to hospital in accordance with protocols and guidelines established by physician medical directors. They may work in an ambulance service (paid or voluntary), as a member of technical rescue teams/squads, or as part of an allied service such as a fire or police department. EMTs are trained to assess a patient's condition, and to perform such emergency medical procedures as are needed to maintain a patent airway with adequate breathing and cardiovascular circulation until the patient can be transferred to an appropriate destination for advanced medical care. Interventions include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, controlling severe external bleeding, preventing shock, body immobilization to prevent spinal damage, and splinting of bone fractures. EMT's are trained in BLS, or basic life support. If the patient requires more advanced care during transport that is out of the scope of practice of the EMT, a paramedic or RN will assist in transport. A national exam is required for certification following the mandated in- class hours and patient- contact requirements.
Paramedics in Canada 
In Canada the scope of practice of Paramedics is described by the National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP) for Paramedics document developed by the Paramedic Association of Canada. Most providers that work in ambulances will be identified as 'Paramedics'. However, in many cases, the most prevalent level of emergency prehospital care is that which is provided by the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR). This is a level of practice recognized under the National Occupational Competency Profile, although unlike the next three successive levels of practice, the EMR is not specifically considered a Paramedic, per se. The high number of EMRs across Canada cannot be ignored as contributing a critical role in the chain of survival, although it is a level of practice that is least comprehensive (clinically speaking), and is also generally not consistent with any medical acts beyond advanced first-aid, with the exception of automated external defibrillation (which is still considered a regulated medical act in most provinces in Canada).
Of considerable relevance to understanding the nature of Canadian Paramedic practice, the reader must appreciate the considerable degree of inter-provincial variation. Although a national consensus (by way of the National Occupational Competency Profile) identifies certain knowledge, skills, and abilities as being most synonymous with a given level of Paramedic practice, each province retains ultimate authority in legislating the actual administration and delivery of emergency medical services within its own borders. For this reason, any discussion of Paramedic Practice in Canada is necessarily broad, and general. Specific regulatory frameworks and questions related to Paramedic practice can only definitively be answered by consulting relevant provincial legislation, although provincial Paramedic Associations may often offer a simpler overview of this topic when it is restricted to a province-by-province basis.
Regulatory frameworks vary from province to province, and include direct government regulation (such as Ontario's method of credentialing its practitioners with the title of A-EMCA, or Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant) to professional self-regulating bodies, such as the Alberta College of Paramedics. Though the title of Paramedic is a generic description of a category of practitioners, provincial variability in regulatory methods accounts for ongoing differences in actual titles that are ascribed to different levels of practitioners. For example, the province of Alberta uses the title "Emergency Medical Technician", or 'EMT' for the Primary Care Paramedic and 'Paramedic' only for those qualified as Advanced Care Paramedics Advanced Life Support (ALS) providers - but almost all provinces are gradually moving to adopting the new titles, or have at least recognized the NOCP document as a benchmarking document to permit inter-provincial labour mobility of practitioners, regardless of how titles are specifically regulated within their own provincial systems. In this manner, the confusing myriad of titles and occupational descriptions can at least be discussed using a common language for comparison sake.
Primary care paramedics 
Primary care paramedics (PCP) are the entry-level of paramedic practice in Canadian provinces. The scope of practice includes performing semi-automated external defibrillation, interpretation of 4-lead or 12 lead ECG's depending on the area, administration of Symptom Relief Medications for a variety of emergency medical conditions (these include oxygen, epinephrine, glucagon, salbutamol, ASA (aspirin) and nitroglycerine), performing trauma immobilization (including cervical immobilization), and other fundamental basic medical care. Primary Care Paramedics may also receive additional training in order to perform certain skills that are normally in the scope of practice of Advanced Care Paramedics. This is regulated both provincially (by statute) and locally (by the medical director), and ordinarily entails an aspect of medical oversight by a specific body or group of physicians. This is often referred to as Medical Control, or a role played by a base hospital. For example, in the province of Ontario many paramedic services allow Primary Care Paramedics to perform 12-lead ECG interpretation, or initiate intravenous therapy to deliver a few additional medications, such as 50% Dextrose.
Paramedic training in Canada is intense, as paramedics are seen as health professionals and equal in importance to nurses, respiratory therapists, cardiac perfusionists and others. Nevertheless, the nature of training and how it is regulated, like actual paramedic practice, varies from province to province. Training varies regionally, for example, the Primary Care Paramedic training may be six months (British Columbia) two to four years (Ontario) in length.
Emergency Medical Technician is a legally defined title in the Republic of Ireland based on the standard set down by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC). Emergency Medical Technician is the entry-level standard of practitioner for employment within the ambulance service. Currently, EMTs are authorised to work on non-emergency ambulances only as the standard for emergency (999) calls is a minimum of a two-paramedic crew. EMTs are a vital part of the voluntary and auxiliary services where a practitioner must be on board any ambulance in the process of transporting a patient to hospital.
|PHECC Responder Levels|
|Responder Title||Abbr||Level of Care|
|CARDIAC FIRST RESPONDER||CFR||Trained in BLS with emphasis on CPR and the Automated External Defibrillator|
|OCCUPATIONAL FIRST AIDER||OFA||Trained as CFR with additional training in management of bleeding, fractures etc. particularly in the workplace|
|EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONDER||EFR||Extensive first aid and BLS training with introduction to Oxygen therapy and assisting practitioners with care|
|PHECC Practitioner Levels|
|Practitioner Title||Abbr||Level of Care|
|EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN||EMT||Entry-level EMS Healthcare professional. Trained in BLS, Anatomy/Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, ECG Monitoring and Spinal Immobilization|
|PARAMEDIC||P||Emergency Ambulance Practitioner. Trained in advanced Pharmacology, advanced Airway management etc.|
|ADVANCED PARAMEDIC||AP||Trained to Paramedic level plus IV & IO access, a wide range of Medications, tracheal intubation, Manual Defib etc.|
United Kingdom 
Emergency Medical Technician is a term that has only recently been introduced into the ambulance service in the United Kingdom. A number of National Health Service ambulance services are running EMT conversion courses for staff who were trained by the Institute of Healthcare Development (IHCD) as Ambulance Technicians and Assistant Ambulance Practitioners. Ambulance trusts such as the London Ambulance Service and the North West Ambulance Service are in the process of converting existing Ambulance Technicians into new roles as Emergency Medical Technician 1,2,3 or 4 based on their level of experience. IHCD Ambulance Technicians and Assistant Ambulance Practitioners still exist within other UK ambulance services, providing a similar level of care to the EMT with Emergency Care Assistants employed in some areas as support. This grade of staff is now being phased out and replaced with lower qualified Emergency care assistants.
United States 
EMT program in the United States began as part of the "Alexandria Plan" in the early 70's, in addition to a growing issue with injuries associated with car accidents. Emergency medicine (EM) as a medical specialty is relatively young. Prior to the 1960s and 70s, hospital emergency departments were generally staffed by physicians on staff at the hospital on a rotating basis, among them general surgeons, internists, psychiatrists, and dermatologists. Physicians in training (interns and residents), foreign medical graduates and sometimes nurses also staffed the Emergency Department (ED). EM was born as a specialty in order to fill the time commitment required by physicians on staff to work in the increasingly chaotic emergency departments (EDs) of the time. During this period, groups of physicians began to emerge who had left their respective practices in order to devote their work completely to the ED. The first of such groups was headed by Dr. James DeWitt Mills who, along with four associate physicians; Dr. Chalmers A. Loughridge, Dr. William Weaver, Dr. John McDade, and Dr. Steven Bednar at Alexandria Hospital, VA established 24/7 year round emergency care which became known as the "Alexandria Plan". It was not until the establishment of American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the recognition of emergency medicine training programs by the AMA and the AOA, and in 1979 a historical vote by the American Board of Medical Specialties that EM became a recognized medical specialty. The nations first EMT's were from the Alexandria plan working as Emergency Care Technicians serving in the Alexandria Hospital Emergency Room. The training for these technicians was modeled after the established "Physician Assistant" training program and later restructured to meet the basic needs for emergency pre-hospital care. On June 24, 2011, The Alexandria Hospital Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Alexandria Plan. In attendance were three of the nations first ECTs/EMTs: David Stover, Larry Jackson,and Kenneth Weaver.
In the United States, EMTs are certified according to their level of training. Individual states set their own standards of certification (or licensure, in some cases) and all EMT training must meet the minimum requirements as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) standards for curriculum. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is a private organization which offers certification exams based on NHTSA education guidelines. Currently, NREMT exams are used by 46 states as the sole basis for certification at one or more EMT certification levels.
The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013, H.R. 235 in the 113th United States Congress, would amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a demonstration program for states with a shortage of emergency medical technicians to streamline state requirements and procedures to assist veterans who completed military EMT training while serving in the Armed Forces to meet state EMT certification and licensure requirements. The bill passed in the United States House of Representatives, but has not yet been voted on in the United States Senate.
The NHTSA recognizes four levels of EMTs:
Some states also recognize the Advanced Practice Paramedic or Critical Care Paramedic level as a state-specific licensure above that of the paramedic. In addition, EMTs can seek out specialty certifications such as Wilderness EMT, Wilderness Paramedic and Flight Paramedic.
Transition to new levels 
In 2009, the NREMT posted information about a transition to a new system of levels for emergency care providers developed by the NHTSA with the National Scope of Practice project. By 2014, these "new" levels will replace the fragmented system found around the United States. The new classification will include emergency medical responder (replacing first responder), emergency medical technician (replacing EMT-Basic), advanced emergency medical technician (replacing EMT-Intermediate 1985), and paramedic (replacing EMT-Intermediate 1999 and EMT-Paramedic).
EMT-Basic is the entry level of EMS. The procedures and skills allowed at this level are generally non-invasive such as bleeding control, positive pressure ventilation with a bag valve mask, oropharyngeal airway, nasopharyngeal airway, supplemental oxygen administration, and splinting (including full spinal immobilization). Training requirements and treatment protocols vary from area to area.
Intermediate levels of EMT 
EMT-Intermediates are the levels of training between basic (EMT-B) and paramedic (EMT-P). There are two intermediate levels that are tested for by the NREMT, the EMT-I/85 and the EMT-I/99, with the 1999 level being the more advanced of the two. The standard curriculum for EMT-I from 1998 is defined by the NHTSA, but each state may not have implemented or approved this program. Many states have stopped issuing new Intermediate licensure, instead focusing on maintaining the current lists of intermediates they have, and encouraging the Basic to Paramedic program philosophy. Outside of the NHTSA framework, some states have instituted their own intermediate EMT levels using a variety of names (e.g. Advanced EMT in California or the levels of Advanced EMT-Intermediate and Advanced EMT-Critical Care in New York).
EMT-I/85 is a level of training that will typically allow several more invasive procedures than are allowed at the basic level, including IV therapy, the use of multi-lumen airway devices (even endotracheal intubation in some states), and provides for enhanced assessment skills.
The EMT-I/99 represents a higher level than the EMT-I/85 with an expanded scope of practice, such as cardiac monitoring and the administration of additional pharmaceutical interventions, as well as additional training time.
EMT-Paramedics, who are commonly referred to as simply "paramedics", represents the highest level of EMT, and in general, the highest level of prehospital medical provider, though some areas utilize physicians as providers on air ambulances or as a ground provider. Paramedics perform a variety of medical procedures such as fluid resuscitation, pharmaceutical administration, obtaining IV access, cardiac monitoring (continuous and 12-lead), and other advanced procedures and assessments.
Staffing levels 
An ambulance with only EMT-Bs is considered a basic life support (BLS) unit, an ambulance utilizing EMT-Is is dubbed an intermediate life support (ILS) unit, and an ambulance with paramedics is dubbed an advanced life support (ALS) unit. Some states allow ambulance crews to contain a mix of crews levels (i.e. a basic and a paramedic or an intermediate and a paramedic) to staff ambulances and operate at the level of the highest trained provider. There is nothing stopping supplemental crew members to be of a certain certification, though (e.g. if an ALS ambulance is required to have two paramedics, then it is acceptable to have two paramedics and a basic).
Education and training 
EMT training programs for certification vary greatly from course to course, provided that each course at least meets local and national requirements. In the United States, EMT-Bs receive at least 110 hours of classroom training, often reaching or exceeding 120 hours. EMT-Is generally have 200–400 hours of training, and EMT-Ps are trained for 1,000 hours or more. In addition, a minimum number of continuing education (CE) hours are required to maintain certification. For example, to maintain NREMT certification, EMT-Bs must obtain at least 48 hours of additional education and either complete a 24 hour refresher course or complete an additional 24 hours of CEs that would cover, on an hour by hour basis, the same topics as the refresher course would. Recertification for other levels follows a similar pattern.
EMT training programs vary greatly in calendar length (number of days or months). For example, fast track programs are available for EMT-Bs that are completed in two weeks by holding class for 8 to 12 hours a day for at least two weeks. Other training programs are months long, or up to 2 years for paramedics in an associates degree program. In addition to each level's didactic education, clinical rotations may also be required (especially for levels above EMT-Basic). Similar in a sense to medical school clinical rotations, EMT students are required to spend a required amount of time in an ambulance and on a variety of hospital services (e.g. obstetrics, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry) in order to complete a course and become eligible for the certification exam. The number of clinical hours for both time in an ambulance and time in the hour vary depending on local requirements, the level the student is obtaining, and the amount of time it takes the student to show competency. EMT training programs take place at numerous locations, such as universities, community colleges, technical schools, hospitals or EMS academies. Every state in the United States has an EMS lead agency or state office of emergency medical services that regulates and accredits EMT training programs. Most of these offices have web sites to provide information to the public and individuals who are interested in becoming an EMT.
Medical direction 
In the United States, an EMT's actions in the field are governed by state regulations, local regulations, and by the policies of their EMS organization. The development of these policies are guided by a physician medical director, often with the advice of a medical advisory committee.
In California, for example, each county's Local Emergency Medical Service Agency (LEMSA) issues a list of standard operating procedures or protocols, under the supervision of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority. These procedures often vary from county to county based on local needs, levels of training and clinical experiences. New York State has similar procedures, whereas a regional medical-advisory council ("REMAC") determines protocols for one or more counties in a geographical section of the state.
Treatments and procedures administered by paramedics fall under one of two categories, off-line medical orders (standing orders) or on-line medical orders. On-line medical orders refers to procedures that must be explicitly approved by a base hospital physician or registered nurse through voice communication (generally by phone or radio) and are generally rare or high risk procedures (e.g. rapid sequence induction or cricothyrotomy). In addition, when multiple levels can perform the same procedure (e.g. AEMT-Critical Care and EMT-Paramedics in New York), a procedure can be both an on-line and a standing order depending on the level of the provider. Since no set of protocols can cover every patient situation, many systems work with protocols as guidelines and not "cook book" treatment plans. Finally, systems also have policies in place to handle medical direction when communication failures happen or in disaster situations. The NHTSA curriculum is the foundation Standard of Care for EMS providers in the US.
EMTs are employed in varied settings ranging from industrial and entertainment positions to hospital and health care settings, and the prehospital environment. The prehospital environment is loosely divided into non-emergency (e.g. hospital discharges) and emergency (9-1-1 calls) services, but many ambulance services operate both non-emergency and emergency care.
In many places across the United States, it is not uncommon for the primary employer of EMTs (both EMT-Ps and EMT-Bs) to be the fire department, with the fire department providing the primary emergency medical system response. In other locations, such as Boston, Massachusetts, emergency medical services are provided by a separate, or “third-party”, government agency. In still other locations, emergency medical services are provided by volunteer agencies. College and university campuses may provide emergency medical responses on their own campus using students.
In some states of the US, many EMS agencies are run by Independent Non-Profit Volunteer First Aid Squads that are their own corporations set up as separate entities from fire departments. In this environment, volunteers are hired to fill certain blocks of time to cover emergency calls. These volunteers have the same state certification as their paid counterparts.
See also 
- Combat medic
- Emergency medical services
- Emergency Medical Services in the United States
- Emergency medical services in the United Kingdom
- Paramedics in Canada
References and notes 
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- "National Occupational Competency Profile". Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- "National Standard Curriculum". National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- Abram, T. "Legal Opinion: Certification v. Licensure". National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "About NREMT Examinations". National Registry of Emergency Medicial Technicians. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "State Office Information". National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Archived from the original on 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "H.R. 235 - Congress.gov". United States Congress. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "Advanced Practice Paramedic". Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "Tennessee Critical Care Paramedic". Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "National EMS Scope of Practice Model" (PDF). NHTSA. September 2006. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "Emergency Medical Technician-Basic National Standard Curriculum" (PDF). National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "EMT-I (1) Regulations" (PDF). California EMSA. pp. 6–7, 11–23. Retrieved 2008-03-10.[dead link]
- "SC EMT-Basic Skills" (PDF). South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate: National Standard Curriculum". National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "EMT Information". California Emergency Medical Services Authority. Retrieved 2011-09-18.[dead link]
- "Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Certification and Education Information". New York State Department of Health. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "1998 Emergency Medical Technician - Intermediate: National Standard Curriculum". National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- "EMS Fellowship Overview". Morristown Memorial Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- "BLS/ALS Procedures". Orange County EMS Agency. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "NREMT "EMT-Basic Recertification". National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "2008 EMT-Basic Course Schedule". Link 2 Life. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "Paramedic Education: Paramedic Associate Degree Program". University of Virginia Health System. Retrieved 2008-03-10.[dead link]
- "Emergency Medical Services Program". Drexel University. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "About us". Orange County EMS Agency. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "EMS Authority's Mandates Summary". California Emergency Medical Services Authority. Retrieved 2008-03-11.[dead link]
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- "Treatment Guidelines". Orange County EMS Agency. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "AAREMS 2007 Regional ALS Treatment Protocols". Adirondack - Appalachian Regional Emergency Medical Services Council. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "Patient Care Policy (ALS)" (PDF). Riverside County Emergency Medical Services Agency. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "Advanced Life Support Treatment In Communication Failure or Without Base Hospital contact" (PDF). Orange County Emergency Medical Services Agency. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
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- "NJ State First Aid Council". NJ State First Aid Council. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Office of Emergency Medical Services
- United States National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians