Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a mobile emergency medical response team that provides emergency medical care and transportation for patients that are in need of immediate medical attention and are unable to reach a hospital or health care center on their own.
EMS may also be described as a rescue squad or ambulance among other medical related names which can vary by country and region.
The purpose of EMS is to provide immediate response pre-hospital care to patients who are suffering from all kinds of injuries and/or illness and to prolong the patients life and vital system functions until the patient is able to be transported to a medical center where they can receive further medical care and treatment.
EMS professionals may be trained in basic life support (BLS) & advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) among other emergency care training and may be accompanied by a well-trained registered nurse and/or physician in cases where advanced medical care may be necessary and potentially beyond the scope of the EMS teams training.
An EMS team may consist of:
Ambulance driver – responsible for getting the EMS team to the scene of the emergency and transporting the patient to the designated hospital/health care center.
Ambulance care assistant – provides assistance with transporting the patient into and out of the ambulance and to/from the scene of the emergency to the designated health care center through the use of a stretcher or wheelchair.
Emergency medical technicians (EMT) – assesses the patients medical condition and provides emergency medical care to the patient. May also use a variety of medications, medical tools and devices such as AEDs, IV’s, defibrillators, heart monitors and a host of other emergency equipment.
Paramedic/critical care paramedic – provide advanced patient assessments and medical care to patients in need of medical attention. Their advanced training allows them to provide care beyond the scope of an EMT which allows them to provide a wider range of medical applications and medications to patients suffering from illness and/or injuries.
Registered nurse – Provides additional assistance and medical expertise to assist with patient care and may continue to provide additional patient care once the patient exits the ambulance and is turned over to the hospital or health care center. Registered nurses may be commonly found operating as part of an EMT team in locations that are suffering from a shortage of EMT professionals or in areas where the use of a well-trained RN may be vital to the patients pre hospital medical care.
Physician – Physicians are capable of providing the highest level of medical care and may perform emergency surgical operations to patients that require extensive pre hospital care that is beyond the scope of paramedics and registered nurses.
The types of medical professionals found operating in an EMS team varies by the country they work in and the need for a particular medical professional in a given area and/or during a particular emergency call.
Emergency medical service certification program
If you’d like to gain more insights into the EMS training and certification program check several online resources such as the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
You can also check with your local college or library to get additional information on the EMS program.
- National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
- Advanced cardiac life support
- Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support