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Emergency Room Technician Duties and Responsibilities

Both clinical and clerical activities dominate an emergency room technician's day. By examining job postings, we've discovered these tasks to be core ones that employers expect ERTs to perform:

Assisting with Procedures Information needs to be gathered quickly and efficiently in emergency situations. ERTs often collect data, such as height and weight, as well as vital signs, such as temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. They may draw blood or acquire other lab specimens and get them to the proper place. Other tasks may include setting up equipment, hooking people up to medical machines, moving patients to a different area, inserting catheters, monitoring patients as they wait for further treatment, reading EKG outputs, placing casts, and treating wounds.

Administrative Tasks To keep operations running smoothly, ERTs may assist with paperwork and communication regarding patient admission, transfer, and discharge. They also may be called upon to record patient information on charts or in a computer system.

Facility Upkeep Emergency rooms can be chaotic places. ERTs work to create a clean, safe environment conducive to patient care. This may involve actions such as getting messes cleaned up, restocking medical supplies, inspecting/cleaning medical equipment, and sanitizing rooms.

Comforting Patients in pain can become anxious or irate. Emergency medical technicians may attempt to keep people calm and reassure them that proper care will be administered. They also may talk to relatives to convey basic information about what is being done.


Emergency Room Technician Skills

ERTs are team players comfortable communicating with higher-level staff. They are capable of understanding directions and following orders precisely. Other qualities that successful ERTs frequently possess include:
  • Multitasking to handle various demands
  • Prioritizing to make certain the most critical situations are attended to first
  • Remaining calm in the face of stress and unforeseen events
  • Listening actively to understand what a patient is experiencing

Emergency Room Technician Education and Training

ERTs often start their education by passing an American Heart Association course in basic life support for healthcare providers. This class teaches how to relieve choking, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). They then move on to a vocational school or community college to study the basics of emergency medicine, such as bleeding control and shock management. Besides coursework, such programs — which typically take nine months to two years to complete — often include a hands-on component at a hospital. Before hitting the job market, candidates must earn a license. Requirements vary by state but generally involve passing an exam. After landing a job, continuing education may be necessary to keep renewing that license. Likewise, obtaining specialty certifications can impress employers.

Emergency Room Technician Resources

Being an emergency room technician can be a stressful, though highly rewarding, job. To aid in the decision about whether such a career would be a good fit for you, we've compiled some additional sources of information:

Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine Manual - One reviewer calls the 8th edition of this classic guidebook the "gold standard, go-to reference for any emergency department professional." Others praise its thoroughness and its full-color photos and illustrations.

Emergency Medical Services - This LinkedIn Group of more than 32,000 members provides a networking forum for anyone interested in emergency medical services.

American Academy of Emergency Medicine - This specialty society is committed to the advancement of emergency medicine worldwide and may be able to answer questions you have about the role emergency room technicians play in outstanding patient care.

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