The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Technician is to provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient care and transportation. Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. The Emergency Medical Technician is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system.
The Emergency Medical Technician’s scope of practice includes basic skills focused on the acute management and transportation of critical and emergent patients. This may occur at an emergency scene until transportation resources arrive, from an emergency scene to a health care facility, between health care facilities, or in other health care settings.
In many communities Emergency Medical Technicians provide a large portion of the out-of-hospital care. In some jurisdictions, especially rural areas, Emergency Medical Technicians provide the highest level of out-of-hospital care. Emergency Medical Technicians work alongside other EMS and health care professionals as an integral part of the emergency care team.
Emergency Medical Technicians’ scope of practice includes basic, non-invasive interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with acute out-of-hospital medical and traumatic emergencies. Emergency care is based on assessment findings.
Additionally, Emergency Medical Technicians provide care to minimize secondary injury and provide comfort to the patient and family while transporting the patient to an emergency care facility.
An Emergency Medical Technician’s knowledge, skills, and abilities are acquired through formal education and training. The Emergency Medical Technician has the knowledge of, and is expected to be competent in, all of the skills of the EMR. A major difference between the Emergency Medical Responder and the Emergency Medical Technician is the knowledge and skills necessary to provide medical transportation of emergency patients.
The Emergency Medical Technician level is the minimum licensure level for personnel transporting patients in ambulances. The scope of practice is limited to basic skills that are effective and can be performed safely in an out-of-hospital setting with medical oversight and limited training.
The Emergency Medical Technician transports all emergency patients to an appropriate medical facility. The Emergency Medical Technician is not prepared to make decisions independently regarding the appropriate disposition of patients. The Emergency Medical Technician serves as part of an EMS response system, assuring a progressive increase in the level of assessment and care. The Emergency Medical Technician may make destination decisions in collaboration with medical oversight. The principal disposition of the patient encounter will result in the direct delivery of the patient to an acute care facility.
In addition to emergency response, Emergency Medical Technicians often perform medical transport services of patients requiring care within their scope of practice.1