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EMT-Basic Roles and Responsibilities

Understanding the legal, moral and ethical responsibilities in training and in the practice of patient care

Why is the section on “roles and responsibilities” one of the most important sections in the EMT-Intermediate curriculum?Because of its long-term value post graduation. Even though much of this section is intangible, accepting and implementing these concepts into your professional life will ultimately separate the excellent from the average EMT.
In the context of your role as EMT, what are ethicsEthics are principles governing the conduct of an EMT. They deal with his relationship to his patients, the patients’ families and to peers and society at large.
What is the etymology of the word “ethics”?The word ethics comes from the Greek word meaning “character.”
T/F: Ethics set standards of rightness and wrongness of human conduct, but do not address morality.True.
What oaths and codes effect the ethical conduct of EMT?The Oath of Geneva, and the Code of Ethics for EMTs.
Give a few examples of areas in which ethical standards effect EMT conduct.Issues relating to standing vs. written orders, professional indiscretions, meeting patient medical needs who are unable to pay, interactions with other members of the health care team.
T/F: Acting within the law will assure you are also acting ethically.False. One may operate within the letter of the law while at the same time violating professional ethical standards.
There is one precept which, if you follow it consistently, will serve to avoid ethical conflicts. What is that precept?Place the patient above all else when providing medical care.
What is a professional?A professional is a person who has certain special skills and knowledge in a specific area and conforms to the standards of conduct and performance in that area.
Why is professionalism in health care necessary?To promote quality patient care, instill pride in profession, promote high standards, and earn respect of the medical team.
When arriving on scene, what elements make up the EMT's role?Recognizing a medical emergency; assessing the situation; managing emergency care and, if needed, extrication; coordinating efforts with those of other agencies that may be involved in the care and transportation of that patient; and establishing rapport with the patient and others to decrease their state of crisis.
What are your triage responsibilities as an EMT?Assigning priorities of emergency treatment and recording and communicating data to the designated medical command authority.
What are your ongoing responsibilities in the field as an EMT as a designated agent of your controlling physician?Initiating and continuing emergency medical care under medical control including the recognition of presenting conditions and initiation of appropriate invasive and noninvasive treatments, and assessing the response of the patient to that treatment and modifying medical therapy as required under the direction of a physician or other authorized personnel.
What is your ethical duty in the event of an interruption in medical direction?Exercising personal judgment in case of interruption in medical direction caused by communication failure or in cases of immediate life-threatening conditions.
What is the EMT’s role in regard to transportation of patients?He must direct and coordinate the transport of the patient by selecting the best available method(s) in conjunction with medical command authority.
After the conclusion of patient transport, what additional duties does the EMT have?Recording in writing or dictation the details related to the patient’s emergency care and the incident, and directing the maintenance and preparation of emergency care equipment and supplies.
Credentialing is a state function that may take one of the following forms.Registration, certification, or licensure.
Define registration/certificationRegistration or certification is the process by which an agency or association grants recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications specified by that agency.
Define licensure.Licensure is the process by which a governmental agency grants permission to an individual to engage in a given occupation upon finding that the applicant has attained the minimal degree of competency necessary to ensure that the public will be reasonably protected.
What is the purpose of registry, certification and licensure?To protect the public from incompetence and provide for professional identification.
Define recertification/relicensure.It is the process by which an individual’s technical competence is periodically reaffirmed.
What is reciprocity?Reciprocity is the mutual exchange of privileges or licenses by two certifying agencies.
What can be done to address skill decayStress the importance of continuing education.
What is the importance of continuing education to the public and medical community?It continually assures them that quality patient care is being delivered.
Is there a relationship between continuing education and reciprocityFor many states, it is the basis for reciprocity, and can allow for the potential advantages of vertical and horizontal mobility.
How can EMT best keep up with new developments in their field?Continuing education and reading the current literature.
What role do national associations play in assuring the competence of personnel in their professions?They develop models of required competencies for various roles in the profession.
What role do national associations play in providing learning experiences for their members?They provide learning experiences to help the EMT-Intermediate acquire the skills ofself-directed learning and to help instructors acquire the necessary skills as facilitators of learning.
What kinds of educational programs do national associations help develop?Study programs, workshops, in-service programs, multi-media packages, and other learning resources accessible to all EMTs.
How do national associations encourage lifelong learning?By instilling awareness among their members regarding the need for continuing professional development and rewarding self-development efforts.
How do national associations ensure continuing professional developmentBy monitoring members’ compliance with continuing professional development standards.
What role do national associations play in supporting instructors in the field?They inform their members about modern concepts of adult learning and how to apply those concepts in educational activities.
What are some of the ways in which a national registration agency promotes the improved delivery of Emergency Medical Services?Assisting in the development and evaluation of educational programs; establishing qualifications for eligibility to apply for registration; preparing and conducting competency examinations; establishing a system for biennial re-registration; establishing procedures for revocation of certificates of registration for cause; and maintaining a directory of Registered Emergency Medical Technicians.
Discuss some of the major benefits of subscribing to professional journals.They are a source of continuing education; they provide an opportunity to publish articles; they are an informational source whereby one can learn about other local,state, regional or national advancements and issues; they encourage professional growth and awareness.
What are some of the benefits of EMTs teaching in their communities?It can serve as a source of continuing education credit; it can provide a review of material and skills not commonly used in the field; it identifies the EMT as a leader and resource person in the community; it can fill a much needed void by having BLS and BCLS qualified people trained in the community; it can help provide supervision, direction and evaluation of student EMTs during their field internships.

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