Emergency medical services (EMS) is a rewarding yet challenging field. Professionals with this training play a crucial role in the healthcare system. There are thousands of emergency cases and patients who need immediate help. However, before you begin your career, you need to be ready to tackle every situation. The only way you can achieve this is by developing different skills and acquiring the proper credentials.
The healthcare sector is exceptionally vast and dedicates itself to caring for people no matter what kind of help they need. So, it is both noble and rewarding if you choose to go down this path. As an EMS professional, you do not need to earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. You can even join the profession right after high school. Here’s how you can create a career as an EMS professional:
1. Basic educational requirements
As an EMS professional, you need to have a high school diploma or a GED. For the GED, all you need to do is pass any outstanding course requirements.
2. Get the CPR Certificate
As an EMS professional, you need to pass the CPR training course. CPR is known as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It is a life-saving technique. The purpose of administering this technique is to ensure that air flows through the victim’s body when the heart and breathing are on hold. Therefore, to ensure you can adequately care for the victim, you need to learn how to perform chest compressions and rescue breathing.
3. Identify your field
There are many fields in the EMS sector. However, you’ll need to get the proper credentials, such as the right associate program or diploma for some areas, such as a dental hygienist or a registered nurse. So, before you enroll in a program, find out what job path you want to opt for as an EMS professional and get yourself registered right away. For instance, if firefighting exciting you, go online and search for CE solutions fire to learn about educational requirements and begin your training. You can choose to either go to school to earn your certification or register online and study in a more self-paced manner. Nonetheless, you will require practical experience to complete your continued education certification.
4. Complete certificates and credits
When you’re sure about what you want to do, you will need to clear your state’s approved examination to become a certified EMS professional. However, before you sit for your exam, you need to ensure you have your credits in order. Suppose you want to be a nurse. You need to be a registered nurse before becoming an EMS nurse. Therefore to avoid trouble after your exam, ensure you already have all the necessary certificates and credits under your belt.
5. Pass the cognitive exam
As an EMS professional, while you may be mostly on your feet, you also need to understand the basics of the human body and rescue techniques. The purpose of this exam is to test your knowledge of situations you will come across in your field. These include answering questions on the airways, respiration, and cardiology. You don’t need to attend medical school for these concepts. When you enroll for this exam, you will get a comprehensive curriculum to follow. It will help if you even studied videos and watched lectures on these topics to understand better.
6. Breeze through the Emergency Skills Exam
The final step in your pursuit to be an EMS professional is to pass the emergency skill test. It requires practical demonstration of how you respond to emergencies. It includes conducting a patient’s assessment, managing a heart attack, supporting a fracture, and controlling bleeding. You need to demonstrate that you’re able to read the situation swiftly and can administer care effectively. As an EMS professional, you will need to show how well you can perform under pressure since most emergencies demand snap judgments. In some cases, you only have minutes to save a life.
What skills will you need?
Education is only one side of the coin for any career. Skills make up the other side. You will have trouble navigating through your job if you don’t possess the skill set to utilize your knowledge. For example, you may know what a fracture is and what the signs are, but you need to know how to wrap a bandage and support the broken bone. Here are some other skills you need for your career:
1. High physical endurance
EMS professionals are primarily on their feet. So you must prepare yourself by either joining a gym or taking part in high training regimes. You need to know how to lift the weight, possibly spend a long time on your knees and contort your body to reach victims. You also need to train your body to withstand injuries and put your patient first.
2. Mental agility and problem-solving skills
It would help if you also were quick on your feet. For example, as a firefighter, you encounter a site with massive structural damage and raging flames. You need to know how to get into the building and rescue survivors without the structure collapsing on them. It means you need to think fast and act fast. You may not have enough time to contemplate how you need to react. The same case applies when you have a patient who’s bleeding. You need to ensure you know how to contain the bleeding without hurting the patient further.
3. Effective communication
An EMS professional needs to know how to communicate. You need to know how to talk to different people, especially in stressful situations. You also need to convey this information further ahead to hospitals and healthcare providers. It is not easy since, in traumatic situations, people often have trouble connecting thoughts and stumble or stutter with what they say. It’s your job to take in the scene before you and deduce what you pick up from the person you’re either rescuing or taking care of.
You will often come across disturbing and troubling scenes. There is also a chance you may rescue a patient but lose them either in the middle of treatment or while you’re taking them to the ER. While it’s human to have an emotional reaction, your rational side needs to outweigh your emotional side. You need to have a strong composure and realize that the people in distress need you the most. If you want to develop composure, you need to work on how you think and what behavior you need to demonstrate.
If you want to become an EMS professional, you need to follow a series of steps. As an EMS worker, you will be operating in extreme emergencies or situations where you’re required immediately. Before you start, you need to get the proper educational credits and research what field you want to join. From there, it’s all about building momentum and passing all the relevant exams and starting your career. As a professional, you also need to hone specific skills. These include your quick thinking, composure, and effective communication. With these under your belt, you will have no trouble becoming an EMS professional.