What Personality Traits and/or Skills Should You Have to Be an EMT?

What Personality Traits and/or Skills Should You Have to Be an EMT?

Mar 15, 2015 | 12:00 pm

Working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) can be an exciting career choice full of new opportunities, but as many in the field will tell you, it’s not for everyone. Combining the right kind of personality and EMT skills can make all the difference for your success and satisfaction in this field. Do you have what it takes?

EMT Skills Checklist

This list suggested by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t include the full scope of skills needed to work as an EMT, but it’s a first look at what you’ll be expected to learn and master:

•Assess the condition of a patient and determine medical treatment
•Utilize backboards and restraints to keep patients stable during transport
•Monitor vital signs during transport
•Manage respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies
•Administer IV fluids and medication, depending on level of training
•Document patient care reports and communicate assessments to hospital staff
•Decontaminate the inner ambulance and restock supplies after transport

To apply for EMT certification, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians notes that applicants must have successfully completed a state-approved EMT skills program, hold a current CPR-BLS for Healthcare Providers credential (CPR training and Basic Life Support) and pass a state-approved EMT psychomotor exam.

EMT Personal Traits Checklist

There’s not just one type of personality that fits the job, but if you can describe yourself in the following five ways, you’re off to a great start:

•Ability to stay calm under pressure

EMTs find themselves in surprising situations. While some days are filled with routine calls, others involve helping patients on the verge of death to breathe, stabilizing patients with life-threatening injuries and birthing babies before reaching a hospital.

•Ability to communicate clearly

EMT skills are utilized on the spot, and that involves communicating quickly, but clearly with team members, police officers, firefighters and patients. Clear communication can make the difference between life and death.

•Personable and friendly attitude

Patients often feel confused, scared and vulnerable during emergencies. In the midst of chaos and volatility, especially concerning intoxicated patients, EMTs must remain professional, displaying diplomacy and grace.

•Physical stamina and strength

EMTs lift, carry and help patients who have fallen or who need assistance. Bending, kneeling, pulling, pushing and other physical activities are all part of the job.

•Quick reflexes and judgment

EMTs may have seconds between finding a patient in a life-threatening situation and applying the proper medical technique. They must act quickly, stay calm under pressure and make a judgment call on how to administer the best care.

It’s a career that growing much faster than average for all occupations between 2012 and 2022 (22 percent!), according the BLS, so if you feel that this is the job for you and you can obtain the EMT skills needed, expect great job prospects and opportunity ahead.