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A Paramedic is a professional who is trained to be an aide to licensed
medical personnel. More commonly however, the more commonly known paramedics
are those who are trained to respond to medical emergencies out in the field
for the purpose of stabilizing the victim's condition so s/he can be
transported to medical facilities.
In the United States, EMTs are licensed according to their level of
training. Although the National Registry of EMT's is one such licensing
entity, individual states may set their own standards of licensure. All
EMT's must meet the minimum requirements as set forth in the Department of
Transportation's standards for EMT curriculum. National Registry recognizes
three levels of EMT: EMT-B (Basic), EMT-I (Intermediate) and EMT-P
(Paramedic). The paramedic level is the highest level of nationally
registered positions. In addition to the basic-level skills of CPR, first
aid, airway management, oxygen administration, spinal immobilization,
traction splinting, bleeding control and splinting, as well as the
intermediate skills of IV therapy, endotracheal intubation and initial
cardiac drug therapy, the paramedic is also educated in EKG interpretation,
advanced airway skills, pharmacology, trauma resuscitation, pediatric life
support and advanced cardiac life support.
Paramedics are often employed by emergency medical services or as
firefighters. Paramedics may respond to calls in an ambulance or have their
own dedicated response vehicle, even sometimes a fire engine.
As nursing shortages become more and more prevalent, paramedics are being
increasingly used in the Emergency Rooms and Intensive Care Units of
hospitals. In addition, paramedics are often used as chief medical personnel
on offshore drilling platforms and on MEDEVACS and airplanes. However,
paramedics may be employed in many different medical fields, not necessarily
in that of the transport of patients. Such positions may include phlebotomy,
blood banks, research labs and educational fields.
In the U.S., salaries paramedics can expect range anywhere from unpaid,
volunteer positions to around $60,000, depending on location and experience.
It should be noted that volunteer paramedics can provide the same level of
care as those at the upper end of the pay scale. Currently, in the United
States, the busiest EMS service per ambulance is New Orleans' Health
Department EMS, which responds to approximately 4,000 "911" calls per month,
utilizing six ambulances for the entire city of about 500,000 people.