Important Questions for Aspiring EMTs
If you enjoy taking care of people, a career as an EMT can be extremely rewarding. Due to the nature of the work, however, it is also physically and emotionally challenging. To see if you have the personal traits and qualities required to be a successful EMT, start by answering these questions:
|Are you comfortable making decisions?||Yes or No|
|Are you a good communicator?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a calm demeanor?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a high tolerance for stress?||Yes or No|
|Are you flexible?||Yes or No|
|Are you physically fit?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy teamwork?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong interpersonal skills?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a solid work ethic?||Yes or No|
|Do you have leadership skills?||Yes or No|
Why These Questions Are Significant
Are you comfortable making decisions?
When responding to an emergency call, an EMT needs good judgment and confidence to evaluate the situation and the condition of the patient, then quickly decide on the best course of treatment.
Are you a good communicator?
To be a successful EMT, you will need to listen well and provide clear information and instructions to patients, and clearly communicate information about a patient's status and care to peers and other medical professionals.
Do you have a calm demeanor?
An EMT's work is to respond to emergencies, where people typically are in pain, shock or otherwise distraught. To assess and treat those in need, you will have to remain composed and cool-headed in any situation.
Do you have a high tolerance for stress?
Responding to 911 calls and witnessing accidents and other emergencies on a daily basis can be emotionally grueling. To be an EMT, you will need to be able to tolerate stress exceptionally well.
Are you flexible?
For an EMT, no two shifts are the same, and no two calls are exactly the same. You will need to be quick on your feet and comfortable with uncertainty.
Are you physically fit?
On emergency calls, EMTs need the physical strength to lift and carry patients or equipment, and the stamina to bend, squat, kneel, and sometimes navigate challenging terrain.
Do you enjoy teamwork?
As an EMT, you will work as one member of a team whose job is to help those experiencing a medical emergency. As such, you must be able to work collaboratively with dispatchers, peers, other emergency responders and medical professionals.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
When interacting with patients and their families, who may be agitated, uncooperative, or erratic, a variety of interpersonal skills, including negotiation and diplomacy, are critical.
Do you have a solid work ethic?
EMTs often work long shifts, including nights, weekends and holidays. Additionally, they may be required to be on call during their off hours. To succeed in this career, you will need to be committed and dedicated to your work.
Do you have leadership skills?
The emergencies to which EMTs respond can be volatile environments. In those situations you will need the ability to calm witnesses, victims and onlookers; diffuse tension; and take control of the situation.
Figure Out Your Next Steps
If you replied 'yes' to more than half of these questions, a career as an EMT may be a smart choice for you. Your next step will be to investigate EMT training programs. A high school diploma and CPR certification are the typical prerequisites for these programs, which may take one to two years to complete. After completion of this training, you will need to obtain a state license before being able to work as an EMT.