Additional Career Paths Having Completed a Patient Care Technician Program
Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
A Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is a healthcare professional who provides emergency medical care to patients in pre-hospital settings, such as at the scene of accidents, emergencies, or during transport to medical facilities. Their primary responsibilities are to assess, stabilize, and transport patients who are experiencing medical emergencies or traumatic injuries.
There are typically three levels of EMTs, which vary in the scope of their practice and the complexity of the procedures they can perform:
- EMT-Basic (EMT-B): At this level, EMTs can perform basic life support (BLS) procedures, such as airway management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administration of oxygen, and splinting. They can also use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and assist patients with certain medications, like epinephrine auto-injectors for allergic reactions or nitroglycerin for chest pain.
- EMT-Intermediate or Advanced EMT (AEMT): In addition to the skills of an EMT-B, AEMTs can perform more advanced procedures, such as administering intravenous (IV) fluids, using advanced airway techniques, and administering a limited number of medications.
- Paramedic: Paramedics have the highest level of training among pre-hospital emergency care providers. They can perform advanced life support (ALS) procedures, such as intubation, administering a wide range of medications, interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs), and performing advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Paramedics may also be trained to perform more invasive procedures, such as needle decompression for tension pneumothorax or intraosseous (IO) access.
The job of a Paramedic or EMT involves:
- Responding to emergency calls and providing immediate medical care to patients at the scene of incidents.
- Assessing the patient’s condition, taking vital signs, and obtaining a medical history when possible.
- Providing treatment based on established protocols and guidelines, such as stabilizing the patient, managing their airway, and controlling bleeding.
- Safely and efficiently transporting patients to appropriate medical facilities, while continuing to provide care during transport.
- Collaborating and communicating effectively with other emergency responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and hospital staff.
- Documenting patient care and interventions accurately and completely, maintaining patient confidentiality.
- Ensuring that equipment and supplies are maintained, cleaned, and stocked appropriately.
- Participating in ongoing training and continuing education to maintain and enhance skills and knowledge.
To become an EMT or Paramedic, you will need to complete a state-approved education program, pass a national certification exam (such as the ones offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians), and obtain licensure in the state where you intend to work. The length of the training programs and the specific requirements for licensure can vary depending on the level of certification and the state in which you live.
A Phlebotomist is a healthcare professional who is trained to collect blood samples from patients for laboratory testing. Some of the job duties of a Phlebotomist may include:
- Explaining the blood-drawing process to patients and answering any questions they may have.
- Identifying patients and labeling blood samples accurately.
- Selecting and preparing the appropriate equipment, such as needles, tubes, and vials, for blood collection.
- Locating veins and inserting needles into veins to draw blood.
- Monitoring patients during and after the blood collection process to ensure their safety and comfort.
- Disposing of used needles and other equipment properly and following appropriate safety protocols.
- Maintaining accurate records of blood samples and test results.
Phlebotomists may work in hospitals, clinics, or blood donation centers. They may work with a variety of patients, including children and adults, and may be responsible for managing multiple patients at once. Phlebotomists typically complete a phlebotomy training program, which may include classroom instruction and hands-on practice, and may also need to be certified or licensed in their state. They must be skilled at working with patients and must have a strong attention to detail to ensure accurate blood collection and labeling.