ER Tech Job Description
Emergency Room (ER) Technicians work in the emergency room of hospitals alongside doctors and nurses. They perform basic, but critical, tasks such as drawing blood, setting up all the tech in the emergency room and preparing patients for operation. Life as an ER Technician is not for the squeamish, as they treat people with some horrific injuries. It’s also a fast-paced work environment that requires constant focus and can involve late shifts.
Although there is no real traditional hierarchy in the medical setting, ER Technicians operate under the command of the Doctor in charge of the room. ER Technicians can find employment in any public or private hospital. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for ER Technicians, which are classified as “ Nursing Assistants,” is set to rise 17 percent through 2024.
ER Technician Duties and Responsibilities
ER Technicians perform several duties and responsibilities to complete their mission of helping doctors and nurses in performing emergency procedures. According to our analysis of ER Technician job descriptions, the following are the most common ER Technician duties and responsibilities.
The foremost reason ER Technicians can’t be squeamish is because they are responsible for taking blood from patients. This involves prepping the patient, finding the right vein and watching for adverse reactions like fainting.
Collect and Deliver Lab Samples
ER Technicians are responsible for collecting basic samples like blood, urine and stool. They are then responsible for properly labeling the sample and delivering it to the lab following anti-contamination protocol.
Caring for Wounds
Under the direction of the Nurse Manager, ER Technicians administer bandaging and splints to care for patient wounds. This involves direct contact with some deep wounds and takes a strong stomach.
Patient Transportation and Visitor Coordination
ER Technicians are responsible for receiving patients and setting them up in the emergency room. Once patients are treated, they move them to a recovery room. Patients in recovery may get visitors, which ER Technicians help check in and escort to the right rooms.
Preparing Patients for Procedures
Patients have to be dressed and undressed, and that responsibility falls on the ER Technicians. They must also bathe patients in some cases. This duty also includes explaining what to expect to the patients, so they have to have good bedside manner.
ER Technician Skills
Being a good ER Technician requires a blend of hard and soft skills. They have to be good communicators and have strong empathy, as they have to talk to scared patients and their worried family members. Good ER Technicians also have the ability to work under pressure and stay organized in a fast-paced environment. Finally, ER Technicians have to be able to thrive in a team environment. Saving a patient’s life is always a team effort, and ER Technicians work alongside doctors, surgeons and nurses to make it happen. The following skills are the most desired by employers of ER Technicians.
- Executing phlebotomy procedures according to best practices, including the ability to quickly locate proper veins
- Actively listening to and executing instructions given by direct supervisor
- Ability to remain cool, calm and focused in a fast-paced, non-traditional work environment
- Exhibiting compassion for patients and communicating with them during pre- and post-procedure process
- The ability to call up their medical training to navigate and make decisions during unexpected circumstances
Tools of the Trade
These are a few tools ER Technicians use frequently in the course of performing their duties and responsibilities.
- Phlebotomy tools – This includes needles, tourniquets and blood collection tubes
- Medical charts – These charts show ER Technicians the patient’s vital information, as well as any important notes regarding treatment
- Medical Testing Machines – This includes MRI machines, EKG scanners and similar equipment
ER Technician Education
While it is technically possible to obtain employment with only a high school degree, most employers prefer candidates who have completed a CNA or EMT program. These programs cover topics like phlebotomy, anatomy and physiology, inserting IVs, medical terminology and reading EKGs. There is a combination of classwork and clinical work required to complete these programs. For some employers, clinical experience through an accredited CNA or EMT program serves as the desired experience range of six months to a year.
All ER Technicians must maintain CPR certification at all times.
ER Technician Salary
According to Glassdoor, the national median salary for ER Technicians is $33,355. Those at the bottom of the scale make $27,000, while those at the top of the scale make $42,000. Differences depend mostly on location and experience.
ER Technician Resources
Working as an ER Technician is a great way to break into the medical field. If you think becoming an ER Technician is a good professional move, then check out this resource list to learn more.
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians - Founded in 1975, the National Association of Emergency Technicians has established itself as one of the premier professional organizations for ER Technicians. It holds an annual national conference as well as smaller regional conferences throughout the year. The organization’s website also contains several educational resources for members.
National Healthcare Workers Association – The National Healthcare Workers Association is one of the largest independent, 3rd-party certification organization for healthcare workers. Its website provides information to study for the ER Technician certification examination as well as a link for signing up for the exam. This organization also holds workshops for qualified individuals.
Lights and Sirens: The Education of a Paramedic by Kevin Grange – This is a tale of a young paramedic’s education at UCLA’s paramedic school, often regarded as the Harvard of paramedic schools for its intensity. It documents his 9-month journey learning the ins and outs of emergency care and also goes into what he learned on the streets of Los Angeles.
EMT Crash Course by Christopher Coughlin PhD – Although this book is for the EMT test and not for the ER Technician certification, the information contained in this crash course is highly relevant to aspiring ER Technicians. It also comes with an online component that includes test preparation activities .
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