Essential EMT Skills (With Definition And Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To become an effective emergency medical technician, more commonly known as an EMT, professionals may require a wide range of skills. These skills include both hard and soft skills. Knowing more about the essential skills of an EMT can help you assess whether you are a good fit for the role. In this article, we discuss skills for an EMT with examples, outline steps for improving them and explore ways to highlight them during different steps of a hiring process.

What Are EMT Skills?

EMT skills are crucial competencies that enable professionals in this role to perform their duties and address their responsibilities effectively. These abilities range from soft skills like communication, empathy and compassion, to more technical skills like knowledge of medicine administration techniques and protocols. Some of these abilities require specific instruction and training to develop, while you may be able to develop some others naturally with experience. In the role of an EMT, several soft skills enable professionals to perform their technical duties also.

Related: What Is A Paramedic? (With Other Frequently Asked Questions)

Examples Of Skills For An EMT

These are some common skills that are beneficial for EMTs to develop:

Compassion and understanding

Being a competent EMT necessitates a high level of compassion, similar to many other roles in healthcare like that of a nurse. Though EMTs primarily provide physical treatment, they may also provide emotional support to patients, particularly those who are facing mental anguish while facing a critical medical condition. EMTs may also help patients and their loved ones process the severity of a condition or the effects of a treatment plan.

Active listening skills

EMTs benefit from listening to their patients' concerns actively and addressing queries to make them feel comfortable and confident. These professionals are also required to listen to and accurately follow instructions from superiors and colleagues. This ability is extremely useful for determining the requirements of individuals in your care.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

Problem-solving skills

As an EMT, you may encounter many difficult situations that demand immediate and precise response. You may benefit from developing the ability to stay composed under pressure. In this role, you may routinely be responsible for assessing crises and devising clear plans of action for yourself and people around you. On-the-job training can greatly help professionals enhance this aspect of their skill set.

Related: How To Highlight Problem-Solving Skills On A Resume

Communication skills

EMTs benefit from being able to communicate with their patients, colleagues and supervisors in a clear and straightforward manner. While providing directions, reporting on a patient's condition to other medical professionals or describing a treatment plan to a patient, they may try to explain things in terms that are simple to understand. They may also coordinate with doctors over the phone, especially while working outside a hospital setting.

Situational awareness

Observing a situation in detail and being aware of the variables that determine the outcome of the situation allows EMTs to provide high-quality care to patients. To facilitate a successful remedy, these professionals may appraise a scenario independently and administer treatment, keeping in mind a patient's overall well-being. Maintaining awareness of surroundings also requires professionals in this role to consistently demonstrate good attention to detail, as they may monitor the vitals of several patients simultaneously in a medical ward.

Improving Your Skills For The Role Of EMT

Here are some suggestions for improving your abilities for this role:

1. Build a professional rapport with patients

In a fast-paced work environment, it may become difficult for EMTs to establish a rapport with every patient they work with. Understanding the unique nature of each patient's situation and responding appropriately to their needs can help generate trust in this role. When you work on a new case, you may consider researching the patient's medical history and prescribed treatment plan in detail. This may enable you to respond quickly and effectively during emergencies.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication?

2. Seek advice and feedback from colleagues and superiors

While working with experienced colleagues and senior doctors, EMTs can gather feedback to improve their competence for the role. EMTs may find themselves in situations where they are not able to decide what course of action to take. In such situations, they may benefit from seeking advice from doctors and understanding the effects of specific response methodologies before administering them.

Related: 20 Examples Of Feedback In The Workplace (With Examples)

3. Record observations while working

Physicians are largely responsible for official diagnoses. In the absence of a physician, an EMTs observations can often guide a course of action, especially during an emergency. Recording critical observations about a patient's condition and a medical situation, and communicating them accurately, can enable professionals in this role to work in synergy with doctors and nurses.

Demonstrating EMT Skills In The Workplace

Here are some pointers for demonstrating relevant abilities at work:

Maintain composure and confidence

EMTs may find themselves in a wide range of stressful and challenging situations on a routine basis. Maintaining composure and confidence helps respond to situations calmly after analysing all crucial aspects in detail. A lapse of judgement or an incorrect course of action can have irreversible consequences in this line of work.

Look after yourself

It is possible that this profession could tire an individual both emotionally and physically. It often involves working in a fast-paced work environment on a routine basis, and often requires professionals to work unconventional hours and extended schedules. EMTs benefit from taking time to care for themselves amidst hectic work schedules, as this can mitigate the chance of burnout. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly for stamina and getting sufficient rest in between shifts can help professionals improve their physical and mental well-being.

Related: How To Handle Pressure From Work (With Practical Tips)

Facilitate teamwork

Working as part of a team to help individuals in need necessitates communication and coordination. By being a resourceful team member, you may motivate teammates and gain their trust. Appreciate your colleagues when they excel in their duties and offer to help team members in need of assistance.

Related: 10 Powerful Tips For Successful Teamwork

Highlighting skills for the role of EMT

If you are looking for a job as an EMT, it is important to highlight your professional skills throughout the application and during the interview process. Here are some pointers for showcasing your abilities and highlighting your profile as a competent candidate:

On a resume

You can mention the most relevant skills in a separate section on your resume. If you have prior experience, you can introduce this section after listing work experience. If you are a fresher who is yet to work in a full-time role, you can place the "Skills" section at the beginning of the document. Review the job posting to identify keywords that the employer may be looking for in a resume. If any of these keywords apply to you, consider including them in your resume.

Related: Professional Resume Samples To Help You Land A Job

On a cover letter

EMTs often make detailed records of their interactions with patients. Demonstrating an ability to write coherently and concisely can reflect favourably on your professional abilities. In your cover letter, you can also elaborate on aspects like motivation and commitment towards healthcare work to improve your chances of securing an interview.

Related: Short Cover Letter Sample (With Helpful Steps And Tips)

During an interview

Interpersonal communication is vital in this line of work and an employer may gauge your competence in this regard during an interview. Maintain eye contact with members of the interviewing panel and demonstrate active listening. Your ability to be present and attentive during an interview can suggest that you are capable of replicating that demeanour in the workplace. Interview questions for this role may be general, behaviour and experience-based, skills-specific or ethics-based.

An interviewer may also be interested in evaluating your awareness of industry trends, best practices, general knowledge or even current events. Enhance your responses by quoting real-life examples and demonstrate how your skills reflect in practice. Remember to tie responses to the specific agency and position you are applying for. These are some potential interview questions for the role of EMT:

  • Why are you interested in working with this institution?

  • What steps have you taken to prepare for the role?

  • Why do you think you are a good fit for this role?

  • What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Tell us about a scenario in which you addressed and overcame a challenge at work.

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