Emergency Medical Services EMS
You are about to join the ranks of what we consider to be a very elite group of men and women. It takes a very special type of person to leave the warmth their bed at some unreasonable hour in the morning, to respond to a call for help, in some cases, without the "promise" of any remuneration. Please remember, these people consider their "condition" severe enough to pick up a telephone (at this unreasonable hour) and ask someone else (YOU) to come and help them. This is NOT a socially acceptable act. It doesn't really matter what time of day it is, the idea of asking a stranger to help, at a time when "I just feel like garbage," is not an activity in which any of us wants to engage. Your patient is not only going to "feel like garbage" because of the "problem," but will probably be carrying an addition load of quilt because he/she had to ask. Be as understanding as you possible can, maintain a high degree of professionalism. The "profession" needs that kind of public image in order to survive. We haven't been around long enough to enjoy any other attitudes, and we will undermine the sense of trust that the majority of the public sector has bestowed upon, by acting in an unprofessional manner. Good Luck. We applaud your effort.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System, as we know it today, is not very "old." It finds it origins in the early 1970's, although the concept of volunteer-ism and the use of motorized ambulances goes all the way back to World War I. A lot of constructive legislative debate, and "just a few" textbook editions (regardless of what text your using) has fine tuned the course into what you are involved in today. As recently as the mid 90's skills such as Automated External Defibrillation, The use of additional Airway Adjuncts, and Assisting Patients with the Use of their Physician-prescribed Medications, have been added to the basic life support level. The goal is to successfully complete your course, gaining as much practical knowledge as possible, then move out into that "wonderful world" as pictured in words above.
EMS provides basic life support and advanced life support through a layered system of response. The First Responder and the EMT-Basic provide Basic Life Support, including evaluating the patient's need for Advanced Life Support as provided by the EMT-Intermediate and the EMT-Paramedic. Every EMS System has, at its "head" a physician to act a Medical Director. It is his/her responsibility to see that the system operates within the legislative guidelines as setup in your primary service area/primary response area. To help maintain medical control, and assure that appropriate care is provided, the Medical Director will publish a set of written standing orders or protocols. Following these protocols to the letter is imperative, they define "Off-line Medical Control". Under certain circumstances, the Medical Director may require providers to "call in," and report the patient's condition to a base physician, who will provide additional special orders. One of the goals here, in addition to providing appropriate, timely patient care, is to provide a continuum of care for the patient, where information provided by the patient at the scene (chief complaint, vital signs, results of an initial physical exam, name, address, etc.) doesn't have to be repeated several times, when the patient arrives at the hospital, and where treatment received either at the scene or enroute to the hospital is not unnecessarily repeated after arrival. This will be accomplished by accurate, complete, timely report writing. Sorry folks, there just is no avoiding the paperwork.
It's been mentioned before, but we need to reiterate that this website's rendition of the EMT-B course information is not to be considered a replacement for the experience of a live classroom. Your textbook, fellow students, and the Instructors are going to add a tremendous amount of information to what you will find here. We offer these page as an adjunctive teaching aid to your Instructors, another point of view.
Finally, we need to encourage you to continue, after this course has been completed. Skills and concepts learned in the classroom, must be practiced and reviewed on a regular basis, if you are to remain competent. This is the first step, on a long road, that can lead to a very promising, rewarding career. We speak from years of personal experience.