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Paramedic FAQ

A-Z Index

What is a paramedic?
What do paramedics do?
How do paramedics receive medical direction?
What training do paramedics have?
What is the difference between Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics?
When do paramedics get called?
How else do paramedics serve the community?
How are paramedic services regulated?

What is a paramedic?

Paramedics are educated and certified by the New Jersey Commissioner of Health to provide advanced life support services under the direction of a physician. Among the care paramedics provide is intravenous therapy, medication administration, cardiac monitoring, defibrillation and advanced procedures for protecting and maintaining a person's airway.

What do paramedics do?

Paramedics primarily provide care to emergency patients in an out-of-hospital setting. A paramedic's goal is to reduce mortality and morbidity due to illness and injury by assessing patients and providing appropriate medical care. Paramedics are an essential component of the continuum of care and serve as a link to healthcare resources.

How do paramedics receive medical direction?

The MICUs are extensions of the Emergency Departments. One base station (located in the Emergency Department at Virtua Voorhees) is the means by which pre-hospital advanced life support is directed, with the paramedic acting as the tool of the physician. The Emergency Department physician and nursing staff have the responsibility for the care of the patient being treated in the field just as they would if the patient were present in the Emergency Room.

What training do paramedics have?

Paramedics have fulfilled requirements by a credentialing agency to practice the art and science of out-of-hospital medicine. They have received extensive classroom instruction, hospital training and a field internship, and possess knowledge and skills that allow them to perform in a professional manner. Read more about the Camden County College School of Paramedic Science.

What is the difference between Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics?

Paramedics are not a replacement for the local Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs.) EMTs provide a level of care known as basic life support. This care includes patient assessment, CPR, bandaging, splinting broken bones, administration of oxygen and defibrillation. Local rescue squads are staffed by paid and volunteer EMTs educated and certified by the New Jersey State Department of Health at the basic EMT level. EMTs are the backbone of the emergency medical system. Paramedics are trained and certified to provide care in advanced life support. The MICU paramedics join with EMTs from local squads to form a team (which also includes members of the police and fire departments) to provide the highest quality emergency care to an ill or injured patient at the scene of an emergency.

When do paramedics get called?

The MICUs are dispatched on emergency calls which may be potentially life threatening such as unconscious patients, patients with chest pain or trouble breathing, serious motor vehicle accidents, etc. The majority of MICUs are staffed 24-hours seven days a week by two certified paramedics. In order for the concept of pre-hospital emergency care to be effective, it is imperative that for calls of a potentially serious nature, the MICU vehicle be dispatched simultaneously with the emergency squad of the local municipality. This is accomplished by the Camden County Communications Center. The dispatchers utilize guidelines for the types of calls warranting a response of an MICU.

How else do paramedics serve the community?

As an advocate for patients, paramedics seek to be proactive in affecting long-term care by working with other provider agencies and organizations. The emerging roles and responsibilities of the paramedic include public education, health promotion and participation in injury and illness prevention programs.

How are paramedic services regulated?

By law, MICUs in New Jersey are hospital-based and highly regulated by the State Department of Health. In addition to Virtua's Quality Assurance review, the Department of Health regularly inspects MICU programs statewide and reviews MICU calls for appropriate care. Every two years, paramedics are required to become recertified.