How to Be Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) are a critical component of the emergency response system, as they are responsible for quickly and accurately assessing emergency calls and determining the most appropriate response. By quickly gathering information from the caller and using their expertise to assess the situation, EMDs can quickly determine the best course of action and dispatch the appropriate services to the scene. This timely response can be a life-saving factor, as emergency responders are able to arrive on scene and provide medical care as soon as possible. In addition to emergency responders, EMDs also coordinate with other entities such as hospitals, law enforcement, and transportation services to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care.

Steps How to Become

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. In order to be an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, one must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Obtain training. In order to become an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, one must complete a training program such as the National Emergency Medical Services Institute (NEMSI). This program provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to handle medical emergencies.
  3. Take the certification exam. Once the training program has been completed, the student must take and pass a certification exam. This exam is offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
  4. Apply for a job. Once the certification exam has been passed, the student can begin applying for jobs as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher. Most employers require that applicants have experience in emergency medical services.
  5. Maintain certification. After becoming certified, it is important to maintain certification by completing continuing education courses and taking the recertification exam every two years.

The role of an Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) is highly important as they are responsible for providing life-saving instructions to callers in need of medical assistance. To be a skilled and capable EMD, one must have a combination of both medical and communication expertise. This includes having an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology, the ability to assess and prioritize calls quickly, and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

Furthermore, EMDs must have effective communication skills, such as the ability to listen and ask the right questions in order to obtain the necessary information from callers. EMDs must undergo rigorous training that combines both classroom instruction and practical experience. All of these qualities combined make an EMD capable of making quick decisions in emergency situations and providing accurate medical advice to those in need.

You may want to check Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Paramedic, Emergency Response Technician (ERT), and Special Operations Paramedic for alternative.

Job Description

  1. Answer emergency and non-emergency calls.
  2. Perform pre-arrival instructions over the phone and provide medical advice.
  3. Determine the nature and severity of medical emergencies, assess the caller's symptoms, and determine the appropriate response.
  4. Dispatch medical personnel and ambulances.
  5. Monitor medical personnel and ambulances in route to the scene.
  6. Maintain contact with medical personnel and ambulances while on scene.
  7. Monitor radio and telephone transmissions.
  8. Input data into computer systems, including patient information and location.
  9. Monitor and track response times to ensure prompt service.
  10. Provide assistance to medical personnel in the field.
  11. Transfer calls to other agencies or services, as needed.
  12. Document all calls, including information about the incident, caller, dispatch, and response.
  13. Provide support to family members of patients in need of medical attention.
  14. Provide follow-up to victims after an incident has been resolved.
  15. Perform quality assurance evaluations to ensure all calls are handled properly.
  16. Participate in continuing education courses to stay up-to-date on industry standards and technologies.

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Ability to remain calm and professional during stressful or emergent situations
  2. Ability to prioritize and multi-task effectively
  3. Knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy
  4. Ability to accurately assess patient information
  5. Ability to ask pertinent questions and listen attentively
  6. Understanding of medical protocols and procedures
  7. Ability to provide clear instructions over the phone
  8. Ability to remain calm and think critically in high pressure situations
  9. Ability to stay up-to-date with new medical technologies
  10. Knowledge of local resources and services
  11. Knowledge of medical dispatch systems and equipment
  12. Computer proficiency with medical dispatch software and hardware
  13. Ability to work independently with minimal supervision

As an Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD), the most important skill to possess is the ability to remain calm and composed in stressful situations. EMDs are responsible for receiving incoming 911 calls and dispatching appropriate medical aid in a timely manner. The ability to remain calm under pressure allows EMDs to prioritize calls and quickly and accurately assess the situation, so the right medical aid can be sent.

EMDs must also be able to remain composed in order to calmly and effectively communicate with callers, relay information to medical staff, and stay focused while multitasking. EMDs must possess excellent communication skills and a working knowledge of medical terminology in order to ensure that all calls are properly handled. With these skills, EMDs are crucial in saving lives and helping those in need during emergency medical situations.

Critical Care Paramedic, Disaster Paramedic, and Search and Rescue Paramedic are related jobs you may like.

Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have working in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment?
  • Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service in a difficult situation.
  • What challenges have you faced as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher?
  • How do you stay organized and manage competing priorities when dealing with multiple EMD calls?
  • What strategies do you use to remain calm and professional in stressful situations?
  • How do you prioritize calls and determine the best course of action for each situation?
  • Describe your experience providing instruction and guidance to distressed callers.
  • What measures do you take to ensure accuracy and precision when gathering patient information?
  • What protocols do you follow when dispatching medical personnel and equipment?
  • How do you ensure timely and accurate communication with responders, healthcare providers, and other agencies?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This is a computer-based system for tracking and managing emergency services requests. It is used to receive, prioritize, and direct calls for medical assistance (e. g. ambulance, police, fire). (eg: The EMD uses the CAD system to record and track emergency call details and assign the appropriate response. )
  2. Radio. A device used to communicate with other emergency responders in the field. (eg: The EMD uses the radio to coordinate with paramedics on the scene of an emergency. )
  3. Telephone. A device used to communicate with patients, bystanders, and other members of the public. (eg: The EMD uses the telephone to obtain vital information about the patient’s condition and location. )
  4. Medical Protocols. A set of guidelines for responding to medical emergencies. (eg: The EMD follows the medical protocols to advise the caller on how to provide medical aid until help arrives. )
  5. Emergency Medical Services Database. A database of information related to medical emergencies, such as patient information, medical history, and medications. (eg: The EMD accesses the EMS database to provide accurate information to responding personnel. )

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
  2. Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
  3. International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)
  4. National Academies of Emergency Medical Dispatch (NAEMD)
  5. International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
  6. National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO)
  7. National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)
  8. American Ambulance Association (AAA)
  9. International Public Safety Association (IPSA)
  10. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

We also have Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) Nurse, Police/Paramedic, and Critical Care Nurse jobs reports.

Common Important Terms

  1. 911 Operator. A person who answers emergency calls from the public and dispatches the appropriate emergency services.
  2. Emergency Services. Any type of service that responds to an emergency or critical situation, such as police, fire, and medical personnel.
  3. Pre-arrival Instructions. Instructions provided by an EMD to a caller regarding first aid or other medical procedures prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.
  4. Protocols. Set of guidelines and procedures followed by an EMD to ensure the safety and wellbeing of callers and responders.
  5. Dispatch Log. A record maintained by an EMD of all calls received, including the caller’s information, the type of emergency, and any instructions given.
  6. Patient Assessment. The evaluation of a caller’s condition based on information provided by the caller and any other available resources.
  7. Crisis Intervention. Assistance provided by an EMD to help a caller cope with a stressful or traumatic situation.
  8. Disaster Management. Coordination of resources to respond to a major disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is an Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD)? A1: An Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) is a professional who is responsible for receiving and processing emergency medical calls and dispatching appropriate resources. Q2: What skills are necessary to be an EMD? A2: To be an EMD, one must possess excellent communication and customer service skills, basic medical knowledge, the ability to multi-task, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and remain calm in stressful situations. Q3: What is the role of an EMD in an emergency medical situation? A3: The role of an EMD in an emergency medical situation is to provide pre-arrival instructions to the caller, collect pertinent details about the patient's condition, determine the appropriate response and resources needed, and dispatch those resources to the patient's location. Q4: How many calls does an EMD receive per day? A4: The number of calls an EMD receives on a daily basis varies depending on the location and call volume. Generally, EMDs can receive anywhere from 10-50 calls per day. Q5: What is the average salary of an EMD? A5: The average salary of an EMD is approximately $15.50 per hour or $32,000 annually.

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