Behind every great paramedic...

...is an even better EMT. This, is largely true, and my thoughts on the subject have been brought on by some opinions shared with me by an EMT. He works for another jurisdiction with a very different delivery of EMS. His is a more traditional fire-based system with ambulances staffed with an EMT and a paramedic, while I am typically a chase care medic.
Tonight he suddenly began to rant that with a good EMT, a paramedic is pretty much obsolete. After all, in his system, he sets up IVs, breathing treatments, EKGs, etc and he supposes that paramedics are only good for starting IVs and intubating people. Wait. Hold the phone. I know that in class we joked that monkeys could do intubations. But intubations alone do not a paramedic make.

Obviously, I believe in the worth of paramedics. I also believe in the worth of EMTs. And if an EMT believes that paramedics are only good for starting IVs and intubating, then I am sorry for him, and question the quality of the paramedics he works with. On the other hand, I'm sure that what he's saying is true. For the most part, he sets up stuff for his paramedic, he knows exactly how the routine call are run and what the paramedic needs.

But, in a chase car system, I work with different EMTs on every call. Most I know, some I don't. Some I trust, some I don't. Sometimes, I don't get an EMT for some time while I am on scene by myself. So, don't tell me that I am only good for IVs and intubations.

Many times, with those EMTs whom I know and trust, some real magic happens where we work together flawlessly and the call just flows and everything is great. We bounce ideas off of eachother, creat a plan, and carry it out. Other times, the EMT I get holds their clipboard, asks unconscious people what their social security numbers are and I take care of everything else.
It varies every day. Sometimes, I need a good EMT, and I am the happiest person alive when I open the back doors and see a familiar face I know I can trust. And sometimes, an EMT needs a good paramedic. I try to do my best and be that person that when the back doors opened they are as glad to see me as I am to see them.

It's great when an EMT can set stuff up for me, but that's not what they're there for. They assess and treat the patients as much as I do. I just have cooler toys.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This is probably the best description of the difference of EMTs and Paramedics. Very well written :)
~Goose
EMT-B/Firefighter

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