The paramedic provides the most extensive pre-hospital care and may work for fire departments, private ambulance services, police departments or hospitals. Response times for nature of work are dependent upon nature of call. For example, a paramedic working for a private ambulance service that transports the elderly from nursing homes to routine medical appointments and check-ups may endure somewhat less stressful circumstances than the paramedic who works primarily with 911 calls in districts known to have high crime rates. Thus, the particular stresses inherent in the role of the paramedic can vary depending on place and type of employment.
The paramedic must be flexible to meet the demands of the ever-changing emergency scene. When emergencies exist, the situation can be complex and care of the patient must be started immediately. In essence, the paramedic in the EMS system uses advanced training and equipment to extend emergency physician services to the ambulance. The paramedic must be able to make accurate independent judgments while following oral directives. The ability to perform duties in a timely manner is essential, as it could mean the difference between life and death for the patient.
Use of the telephone or radio dispatch for coordination of prompt emergency services is required, as is a pager, depending on place of employment. Accurately discerning street names through map reading, and correctly distinguishing house numbers or business addresses are essential to task completion in the most expedient manner. Concisely and accurately describing orally to dispatcher and other concerned staff, one's impression of patient's condition, is critical as the paramedic works in emergency conditions where there may not be time for deliberation. The paramedic must also be able to accurately report, orally and in writing, all relevant patient data. At times, reporting may require a detailed narrative on extenuating circumstances or conditions that go beyond what is required on a prescribed form. In some instances, the paramedic must enter data on to a computer from a laptop in ambulance. Verbal skills and reasoning skills are used extensively.
The paramedic program is divided into three primary activities: 1) Didactic (classroom), 2) Clinicial Rotation, and; 3) Field Internship. The total program length meets or exceeds current accreditation standards as established by CAAHEP / CoAEMSP and the National Registry of EMT's. The minimum program hours are as follows:
|Didactic / Lab||800 hrs|
|Field Internship||540 hrs|
|Minimum Program Hours||1600 hrs|
Student performance is measured and evalauted throughout the course through a series of written and performance-based methods. The goal of these evaluations/assessments is to build a paramedic candidate portfolio that meets or exceeds the standards established by the NREMT and CoAEMSP.
The current program is conducted at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Center, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken, PA 19428. The program typically runs approximately nine months for classroom time with a requirement to begin the testing process within 1 year after completion of the program. Class hours are typically, Monday and Thursday nights from 07:00 - 10:00 and several weekend sessions are included.
Prerequisites: In order to enter the program, an applicant must have been a Pennsylvania certified EMT for at least 1 year. This in itself does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Candidates must complete the paramedic preparatory program within 1 year before the beginning the paramedic program.
The Montgomery County Paramedic Training Program is certified by the PA Department of Health, as an accredited Paramedic Training Institute. Additionally, The Montgomery County Public Safety Training Center (EMS Institute) Paramedic program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
Admission to the Montgomery County Paramedic Training program requires the following:
- Application for Admission
- Successful Completion of Anatomy and Physiology for Paramedics course, and:
- Copy of PA Driver's License
- Copy of PA DOH EMT Certification
- Copy of Current Health Insurance
- Copy of PA Criminal Background Check; Child Abuse Clearance; FBI Fingerprint record
- Completion of an entrance interview.