As with any new initiative, the implementation of the newly revised EMT-B National Standard Curriculum, has caused some confusion among members of the New Jersey EMS community.
In an effort to clarify the confusion, the Office of Emergency Medical Services Education Section staff (with the assistance of other EMS educators), have compiled a list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the new curriculum and how it is being implemented.
- What is an EMT-Basic?
What is going to happen to the current EMT training program?
- What's the difference between an EMT-A and an EMT-B?
- What's the main difference between the new curriculum and the old curriculum?
- Can an EMT-B provide more extensive care to a patient?
- Am I required to become certified as an EMT-B in New Jersey?
- How long is the Transition Training Program and what does it include?
- Where do I go to take an EMT-B Transition course?
- Once I've completed my EMT-B course, do I receive a new EMT-B card, or must I wait until my existing certification expires?
- Do I earn continuing education credits for the EMT-B Transition course?
- Will these credits be added to my CORE or to my ELECTIVE requirement?
- Will the continuing education credits I have previously earned still count toward recertification?
- Are volunteer first aid squads and/or private ambulance services permitted to carry the medications presented in the EMT-B training program?
- I understand that the new EMT-B curriculum doesn't contain any information about anatomy and physiology. I also heard that new EMT-Bs aren't learning the same medical terminology as EMT-As learned. Is this true?
- Why isn't CPR part of the EMT-B course?
- Automated external defibrillation is now included in the newly revised curriculum. Why isn't EMT-Defibrillation certification a part of the new EMT-B training program?
- Did the state implement a new EMT-B core to replace the current core, since the current core reflects the previously taught curriculum?
- Who can teach the new EMT-B core continuing education program?
- Where will I go to take an EMT-B Core Continuing Education course?
- Will the new EMT-B Core Continuing Education courses be required in addition to or instead of the EMT-B Transition Course?
1. What is an EMT-Basic?
An EMT-Basic (B) is the designation given to one who successfully completes the newly revised 120 hour United States Department of Transportation's Emergency Medical Technician-Basic training program.
2. What is going to happen to the current EMT training program?
The EMT-Ambulance training program which was last revised in 1988, has been phased out. In its place will be the newly revised EMT-B training program. Effective July 1, 1996, all Department of Health basic training sites transitioned to the newly revised EMT-B training program.
3. What's the difference between an EMT-A and an EMT-B?
In reality there is no difference! The certification is still identified as the minimum national standard training course for those who operate with an ambulance service (paid or volunteer) and who provide prehospital care at the basic life support level. The EMT-B certification is not recognized or regarded as being a "higher" level of certification.
4. What's the main difference between the new curriculum and the old curriculum?
Unlike the 1988 training program, the new curriculum emphasizes patient assessment, not diagnosis. Students will be trained and drilled to treat a condition based upon the signs that they observe and the symptoms which the patient describes. (For example, an EMT-B will administer oxygen to a patient who has difficulty breathing, regardless of whether the problem is caused by a myocardial infarction, emphysema, or other disease or illness).
5. Can an EMT-B provide more extensive care to a patient?
In accordance with the scope and content of the EMT-B curriculum, students will be trained to assist patients in the administration of the patient's own prescribed medication. The EMT-B student will be presented with basic pharmacological information and training and be instructed to follow basic medical protocols, with on-line and off line medical direction when administering prescribed medication to a patient. The scope and content of the EMT-B curriculum does not reflect "more extensive" care, rather, it represents a new focus and a more realistic approach to the provision of prehospital basic life support care.
6. Am I required to become certified as an EMT-B in New Jersey?
Yes. The target date for completing this process is December 31, 1999. By January 1, 2000, EMT-A certification will no longer exist. EMT-A cards with certifications beyond January 1, 2000, will be valid, but there will no longer be any Transition courses available. The change from EMT-A to EMT-B began on July 1, 1996. EMT-As should make every effort complete the EMT-B Transition Training Program by the target date. This program began on a small scale in the fall of 1996. It is expected that course availability will significantly increase in 1997. The December 31, 1999 target date will afford every New Jersey EMT-A ample time and opportunity to transition.
7. How long is the Transition Training Program and what does it include?
The EMT-B Transition course can be taught within a minimum of 24 hours. Hours may vary. This will depend upon the size of the class, the level of competency demonstrated by the students and the availability of instructional staff and equipment.
The course concentrates on the essential skills needed for an EMT-B to provide prehospital care at the basic life support level. The curriculum includes modules covering patient assessment (medical & trauma), airway management, pharmacological interventions and a unit on pediatrics. The course includes modular evaluations (written & practical) as well as a final examination.
8. Where do I go to take an EMT-B Transition course?
These courses are available through most EMT-B basic training course sites. In addition, this course is offered as a continuing education program and is being taught throughout the state by certified EMT-B instructors actively involved in the provision of continuing education. Information on course availability is provided to on a bimonthly basis to the following individuals and/or agencies:
- The NJ Medical Transportation Association
- All NJ hospital emergency departments
- All NJ EMT course coordinators
- All NJ Mobile Intensive Care Units (MICUs)
- All NJ State First Aid Council District Education Training Chairpersons
In addition, course information may be accessed from the following web sites:
9. Once I've completed my EMT-B course, do I receive a new EMT-B card, or must I wait until my existing certification expires?
Upon successful completion of the EMT-B Transition course, the EMT will receive an updated card. This card will reflect the same expiration date as the previously held EMT-A card.
10. Do I earn continuing education credits for the EMT-B Transition course?
Yes. Successful completion of this course will earn the EMT-B 24 credits.
11. Will these credits be added to my CORE or to my ELECTIVE requirement?
Credits can be awarded to either category. The decision will be up to the EMT-B. All 24 credits will be added to the category chosen and remain there until recertification is obtained. There are no other options available. Therefore, individuals are urged to evaluate their continuing education requirement before they decide to enter into the EMT-B Transition training program.
12. Will the continuing education credits I have previously earned still count toward recertification?
Yes, provided there is no duplication in the courses you have taken. Becoming an EMT-B does not alter the requirements for recertification. One must still earn 24 credits in both the CORE and the ELECTIVE categories. Any credits earned beyond the 24 required for each category will not count toward the next recertification. In addition, excess credits cannot be applied to either category to fulfill the 24 credit requirement.
13. Are volunteer first aid squads and/or private ambulance services permitted to carry the medications presented in the EMT-B training program?
No! The pharmacological interventions addressed in the curriculum relate only to patient prescribed medications. The guidelines for the administration of these patient prescribed medications is very clear and is presented as part of the EMT-B basic training program as well as the EMT-B Transition course and the recently implemented EMT-B Core Refresher course. EMTs are PROHIBITED BY LAW from carrying these medications and are PROHIBITED FROM DISPENSING these medications except as defined in the curriculum and the approved protocols.
14. I understand that the new EMT-B curriculum doesn't contain any information about anatomy and physiology. I also heard that new EMT-Bs aren't learning the same medical terminology as EMT-As learned. Is this true?
No! The curriculum does contain information on anatomy and physiology. The information is presented in a straight forward manner and introduces the student the basic principles of anatomy and physiology. With regard to medical terminology, it still represents a portion of the didactic information presented in the course. The textbooks still contain medical terminology and students are encouraged to learn as much medical terminology as they can. This will assist them as well as the patient when interacting with advanced life support and hospital personnel.
15. Why isn't CPR part of the EMT-B course?
To meet the requirements of this revised EMT-B curriculum, CPR was designated as a prerequisite. Basic life support is an essential component of any EMS educational experience and a professional level (American Red Cross or National Safety Council) or, health care provider (American Heart Association) CPR course must be successfully completed prior to entering an EMT-B training program.
16. Automated external defibrillation is now included in the newly revised curriculum. Why isn't EMT-Defibrillation certification a part of the new EMT-B training program?
New Jersey's EMT-Defibrillation (EMT-D) law requires one to be certified as an EMT and be affiliated with an approved EMT-D provider agency before becoming eligible for EMT-D training and certification. The newly revised EMT-B training program will include a lecture and a question and answer segment on EMT-D. Formal training is conducted by Department approved Mobile Intensive Care Unit hospital personnel. Plans are underway to move defibrillator training into both the basic and newly revised EMT-B Core Refresher curriculum. OEMS will keep the EMS community apprised of our progress on these changes.
17. Did the state implement a new EMT-B core to replace the current core, since the current core reflects the previously taught curriculum?
Yes, a new EMT-B core program was released in the fall of 1998. This new curriculum is be based upon the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's final draft recommendations to the National Association of State EMS Directors and the National Association of State EMS Training Coordinators. The new curriculum has been formatted in modules for integration into the continuing education program. Each module will be worth 2 core credits. Successful completion of the entire EMT-B recertification curriculum will be worth 24 credits and meet the EMT-B core continuing education requirements. Copies of the curriculum have been disseminated to all EMT course coordinators and instructors engaged in presenting core continuing education program.
18. Who can teach the new EMT-B core continuing education program?
Qualified instructional staff may include: Physicians, Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, NJ Certified Paramedics, Respiratory Therapists and NJ Certified EMT-Basic Instructors. It should be noted, that only EMT-Basic Instructors are recognized to teach the skills portion of the program. Other instructional staff will be selected based upon their expertise in the subject matter.
19. Where will I go to take an EMT-B Core Continuing Education course?
These courses are being made available in the same manner as the "old" core continuing education programs and the "Transition" programs have been made available. In 1999, EMTs will see a decline in the number of EMT-A core continuing education programs as well as in the number of "Transition" courses as well. EMTs should check the designated websites or contact their New Jersey State First Aid Council District Education Training Chairpersons. .
20. Will the new EMT-B Core Continuing Education courses be required in addition to or instead of the EMT-B Transition Course?
EMT-B Core Continuing Education courses will not be required in addition to EMT Transition courses. As long as "Transition" courses remain available, EMTs, will have the option of taking either course to complete their core continuing education requirements. Although EMTs have the option of using the "Transition" course to complete either their core or elective requirements, this option will not be available when taking the new EMT-B core continuing education program. It is designed to replace the existing core continuing education program and can not be a substitute for elective subject matter. EMTs should evaluate their recertification requirements when selecting which course (EMT-B Core or Transition) to take.
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