NOTE: This information is based on the EMT+Scribe Panel Hosted by M.O.S.S. on 3/8/2017. Please use this information to get an idea of EMT/Scribe training and the nature of each respective job, not as an absolute resource.
Emergency medical technician (EMT)
What is an EMT?
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and ambulance technician are terms used in some countries to denote a health care provider of emergency medical services. EMTs are clinicians, trained to respond quickly to emergency situations regarding medical issues, traumatic injuries and accident scenes.
- EMT programs are found at community colleges (i.e. CRC,ARC, Sierra College, etc.), state colleges (i.e. Sacramento State) and even in private programs. These usually last 1 semester.
- EMT programs are divided into lecture and lab.
- Some EMT programs are very strict in terms of grades (ex. One program described required students to maintain a B average the entire course of the program.)
- There are short and long programs. Short programs usually require more of your focus and time. Long programs can give you more balance if your life is more busy; allows for more study time.
Prior to working
Be aware that there are fees and training prior to becoming an EMT. Certification and national registration costs ~$200. Required training (i.e. update on a patient lifting technique) may or may not be provided by your employer.
Looking for JObs
- There are many job opportunities throughout the Sacramento region for EMTs.
- Weigh the benefits of different potential employers. Consider whether they are unionized, how they set work hours, etc.
Experience in the Field
- First responders can be given 24 hour or 48 hour shifts. Usually these experiences have a lot of down time during the day and opportunities to respond to a call are usually given to the day shift. Work for first responders is primarily done at night.
- EMT credentials need to be updated every 2 years. Training credits can count towards your license renewal. Again, these may or may not be provided by your employer.
- There are opportunities for growth as an EMT. This can come with doing well at your job or with additional trainings (ex. ACLS - advanced cardiovascular life support). With experience, you can become an EMT trainer for new employees. Or individuals can go a different direction; instead of continuing in the field, you can become a dispatcher.
What is a medical scribe?
A Medical Scribe is essentially a personal assistant to the physician; performing documentation in the electronic health record (EHR), gathering information for the patient's visit, and partnering with the physician to deliver the pinnacle of efficient patient care.
- Scribes are usually trained by their employer. This training usually consists of learning medical terminology, abbreviations and timed practice putting together charts. This can either be done via in-person classes or an online course.
- Following the preliminary training, an in-hospital residency is done where future scribes practice charting in live doctor-patient situations and are shadowed by their more experienced peers. This is done for a set period of time, and then they are able to work on their own if they are competent enough to chart well on their own.
Benefits of being a scribe
- There are a lot of interactions with doctors and opportunities to get recommendations.
- You get to shadow doctors in action while getting paid.
- Though EMTs have the opportunity to provide some patient care, in comparison to being an EMT, there are less opportunities to shadow doctors.
- As a scribe, you are able to familiarize yourself with how the hospital works.