Have you ever wondered if you could make the grade as an emergency medical technician? If so, our quiz is for you. Well, OK ... it's probably not going to be as difficult as the National Registry EMT certification exam, because it's for a general audience. Did you know, for example, that the current NREMT exam is "cognitively adaptive"? That means that the computerized test starts with the most difficult questions on each sub-topic, and if you answer those correctly, it moves on. If not, it tapers down to progressively easier questions. So if it's taking you what feels like a long time to take the exam, you might not be as prepared as you thought! But don't worry, as long as you demonstrate an adequate level of knowledge, you won't fail. You'll just get out a bit earlier if you ace it!
There's a lot to cover. EMTs must have a good understanding of human anatomy, the systems of the body, and common illnesses and injuries. But beyond that, they have to understand how to communicate with children, the elderly, and those for whom English is a second language. They need to know how to instill trust in patients, how to deal with the drunk, drug users, or those agitated by mental illness. And. no less important, they need to remember how to protect themselves in the field. There are many risks to the job, from back injuries incurred while lifting patients, to hostile dogs, to the canisters of highly combustible oxygen that are a part of an ambulance's equipment.
Remember, the next time you see an EMT or paramedic -- treat them well; they have a very difficult job!
It's very important that the "bus," as EMTs in some areas call it, is well-stocked with things a patient might need. Coffee is important, too, but that's secondary.
To be effective on the job, you'll need to understand the shorthand dispatchers and other first responders use. A reporting party is the person who called 911.
In other words, this is infection control. It's important that EMTs protect themsevles from contact with blood, saliva, etc.
Masks, goggles and gloves are all part of proper BSI. A blood-pressure cuff is used in patient assessment.
The first thing you do on arriving at a scene is make sure it's safe for you to proceed. A badly injured EMT is no help to anyone.
An ambulance service is run by a medical director, who is always a physician. If he or she creates a standing order that an EMT must call in before administering a patient's insulin, that's the rule you'll always follow in the field.
Surprised? It makes sense when you think about it. Emergency scenes are usually very noisy places, with people crying or alarms going off, and it's not uncommon for a bystander to flag you down when you arrive. A still, silent scene is an anomaly, and you and your partner should proceed with caution.
It is not uncommon for an EMT to be called to testify in court. This might happen when a call was the result of a crime, or in a civil lawsuit, when a patient or a patient's surviving family believes that treatment was negligent.
These are the most urgent things to address at the scene. Is the patient's airway clear? Is he breathing? Is his heart beating regularly, and/or is he bleeding? If you take care of these problems first, you'll have time to address other issues.
One important part of being an EMT is being able to discuss a patient's body in common terms everyone understands. Medical professionals use terms like distal/proximal, ventral/dorsal, and anterior/posterior to describe the position of injuries or symptoms.
You might apply this term when examining a patient with possible lung issues. If her pain is "bilateral," it seems likely both lungs are involved.
If you said "neck," you were partly right. The cervical spine is the part in the neck. Further down is the thoracic spine, then the lumbar.
Contrary to popular opinion, hormones aren't just about sex. They are the body's chemical messengers, which interact with all the other systems in a complex way. One of the most common hormone issues you'll deal with is diabetes and insulin, the hormone (sometimes administered externally) that controls blood sugar.
Skin keeps harmful pathogens out of the body, helps regulate the body temperature, and keeps the body's water level balanced (through sweat and through keeping external water out). But it does not exchange oxygen for CO2.
"Systolic" and "diastolic" are terms you'd most often use in noting blood pressure. The top number is systolic, meaning while the heart is contracting, and diastolic is the bottom number, meaning between beats.
You are more likely to see an elevated blood pressure (due to stress) than a low one at an emergency scene. So if your patient's blood pressure is unusually low, it could imply blood loss or another issue.
Hospital beds are (usually) made to roll. But you won't be using them at the scene of a call.
A bag-valve-mask combination is a ventilation device. For various reasons, including body substance isolation, EMTs very rarely perform mouth-to-mouth, but use ventilation devices instead.
Cyanosis usually occurs when a patient is having difficulty breathing or otherwise getting oxygen to the tissues of the body. Check for it around the lips or in the nailbeds, where it often appears first.
This is a normal breathing rate for a healthy and calm adult. Hyperventilation can take the breathing rate up to 200 breaths per minute, which generally precedes passing out.
A normal breathing rate for an infant is 25-50 breaths per minute. A child's is slower, about 15 - 30 breaths, but still higher than an adult's.
A cervical collar is placed around the patient's neck and jaw, to hold the cervical spine still. You've probably already heard that one of the biggest concerns in moving a patient on-scene is not aggravating a spinal injury. The collar helps prevent that.
EMTs must also protect themselves from airborne pathogens, which is where a mask comes in. Gloves will also help you to not pick up a germ that has landed on a surface in the patient's home -- a common way the flu is transmitted.
These are considered four immediate and key clues to a patient's condition. It isn't just first responders that use them; nurses check them at the beginning of any doctor's appointment.
This might seem like a semantic issue, and not important to treatment. But it reminds the EMT that there are things only the patient can report, and things the EMT might see that the patient doesn't notice. Both are important.
Pupil size is an important indicator of health. Pupils of different sizes is a common sign of brain injury.
"SAMPLE" is a mnemonic device for taking a history on the scene. It stands for Signs/Symptoms, Allergies, Medications, Pertinent past history, Last oral intake (food or drink), and Events leading to injury/illness.
Radio transmissions are accessible to anyone with a scanner, which includes hobbyists as well as people working for other agencies. Even if your pregnant patient is not named, she might be identifiable by other details. It's important to keep sensitive details confidential until you can discreetly inform the ER staff in person.
You might hear the expression "ascultation with stethoscope" in your work. If so, it's possible your co-worker is bucking for a supervisor position or has his/her eye on med school!
One cause of bradycardia is inadequate breathing or oxygen supply. You'll notice when you hold your breath, your pulse starts to slow. In the field, uncontrolled, this can be dangerous.
This is done with young, heathy patients to determine "capillary refill," or how quickly the blood returns. This is a sign of circulatory health; a poor response can indicate shock (among other things). Do not rely on this sign in older patients or patients with pre-existing health problems, as it will not be reliable.
Oxygen can be an important part of prehospital care, but it can also be dangerous. The equipment needs to be well-maintained and handled with respect.
A splint is a device that holds an injured limb in a safe, pain-reducing position. In an emergency, they can be made with broom handles, rolled sheets or other items.
The most likely explanation here is internal bleeding. However, it is not the EMT's job to guess at causes of symptoms. Stick to what you observed and you won't accidentally mislead a doctor or nurse.
The patient may refuse further assessment, but it is important from a legal and ethical standpoint to urge the patient to get checked out. It's possible the chest pain is a precursor of a heart attack.