How to Be Life Support Technician - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

A Life Support Technician plays an important role in providing health care by monitoring and maintaining patients' vital signs. This is an essential job because it helps ensure that patients are receiving the best care possible. The technician's job is to observe, measure, and record vital signs such as temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure on a regular basis.

In addition, they may be required to perform basic medical procedures such as drawing blood or inserting intravenous lines. If any changes in vital signs are noticed, the technician will notify the medical staff so that immediate action can be taken. By efficiently performing these duties, the life support technician helps to ensure that patients remain healthy and that any medical issues are quickly addressed.

This can have a positive effect on patient outcomes, as the early detection and treatment of medical issues can reduce the risk of complications and improve recovery times.

Steps How to Become

  1. Complete a High School Education. Before you can become a life support technician, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  2. Earn an Associate Degree. An associate degree or other postsecondary training in respiratory care or a related field is required to be a life support technician.
  3. Obtain Certification. Certification is also required in order to work as a life support technician. The National Board for Respiratory Care offers several certification exams for life support technicians.
  4. Gain Experience. After you have obtained your certification, you will need to gain experience in the field in order to be successful. You can gain experience by working as an intern or volunteering at a hospital or other healthcare facility.
  5. Consider Further Education. You may want to consider furthering your education in order to increase your job prospects or advance your career. You could pursue a bachelor's degree or higher in respiratory care or a related field.

In order to stay ahead and qualified in the field of Life Support Technician, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in medical technology, knowledge of medical terminology, and continuing education in the field. Staying abreast of the latest medical technology allows Life Support Technicians to stay competent and knowledgeable in their roles. Being knowledgeable in medical terminology helps to ensure that technicians are communicating effectively with other healthcare professionals.

Continuing education opportunities such as conferences, seminars, and workshops provide the opportunity for technicians to gain insight into new developments in their field and keep their skills current. By staying ahead and qualified, Life Support Technicians are able to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.

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Job Description

  1. Monitor and adjust life support systems, including ventilators, respirators, and artificial hearts to ensure patient health and safety.
  2. Maintain detailed patient records and log vital signs, medical notes, and other relevant information.
  3. Administer medications, fluids, and oxygen as prescribed by a physician.
  4. Assist physicians and nurses with intubation and other medical procedures as required.
  5. Provide patient education about the use of life support equipment and safety measures.
  6. Conduct emergency drills to ensure proper response in the event of a medical emergency.
  7. Respond to alarms on life support equipment and take appropriate action.
  8. Perform bi-weekly calibrations to ensure accuracy and efficiency of life support systems.
  9. Clean, disinfect, and maintain life support equipment to ensure optimal performance.
  10. Troubleshoot and repair malfunctioning life support systems as needed.

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Ability to understand and follow instructions.
  2. Knowledge of medical terminology and procedures.
  3. Knowledge of basic life support protocols and equipment.
  4. Ability to recognize and respond to emergency situations.
  5. Ability to assess a patient's vital signs and take appropriate action.
  6. Ability to administer medications, treatments, and therapies.
  7. Ability to operate and maintain life support equipment.
  8. Ability to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals.
  9. Excellent communication skills with patients and families.
  10. Ability to document patient data accurately and thoroughly.

Good communication is one of the most important skills for a Life Support Technician to have. Effective communication helps to ensure that patients receive the best care, and that any concerns are addressed in a timely manner. It is also vital for building trust and relationships with team members and the patient.

Good communication allows a life support technician to explain medical procedures and answer questions in a way that the patient can understand. it is essential for providing instructions to the patient and family members, as well as monitoring the patient's progress. Good communication also helps to ensure the safety of both the patient and the technician, by providing clear instructions and avoiding any potential confusion.

Without good communication, there is a risk of misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, and other errors that could put the patient's health in danger.

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Frequent Interview Questions

  • What qualifications do you have to be a successful Life Support Technician?
  • What experience do you have with medical equipment and operations?
  • How would you handle a situation in which a patient is refusing treatment?
  • What kind of emergency protocols have you followed in the past?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to make a difficult decision in a high-pressure situation?
  • Describe your experience working with a medical team.
  • What safety protocols do you follow when working with patients?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on the latest medical technologies?
  • What challenges have you faced as a Life Support Technician?
  • How do you handle stress in a fast-paced work environment?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Ventilator. A device used to assist or replace breathing by providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the body. (eg: LTV 1200 Ventilator)
  2. Intubation Kit. A kit used to insert a tube into the trachea to assist breathing. (eg: Karl Storz Intubation Kit)
  3. Defibrillator. A device used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. (eg: Philips HeartStart Defibrillator)
  4. Pulse Oximeter. A device used to measure the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood. (eg: Nonin Pulse Oximeter)
  5. IV Solutions. Intravenous solutions used to provide fluids and medications to a patient. (eg: Normal Saline IV Solution)
  6. IV Pumps. Devices used to accurately and safely control the rate of IV medication or fluid delivery. (eg: Baxter IV Pump)
  7. Suction Equipment. Devices used to quickly remove fluids from a patient's airway. (eg: Ambu Suction Unit)
  8. Oxygen Tanks. Tanks used to store and deliver oxygen to a patient. (eg: E-Tank Oxygen Cylinder)

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)
  2. American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
  3. Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)
  4. National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)
  5. Association of Critical Care Nurses (ACCN)
  6. American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  7. American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP)
  8. International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
  9. International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT)
  10. National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC)

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Common Important Terms

  1. Ventilator. A device that mechanically assists or replaces the function of breathing by providing a controlled stream of air or oxygen to the lungs.
  2. Pulse Oximeter. A device used to measure the oxygen level in the blood.
  3. Intubation. The insertion of a tube into the trachea to provide an artificial airway.
  4. Cardiac Monitor. A device used to measure and display the electrical activity of the heart.
  5. Respiratory Therapist. A healthcare professional who specializes in treating patients with pulmonary diseases.
  6. ECG/EKG. An electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart.
  7. Arterial Blood Gas Analysis. A test that measures the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases in the blood.
  8. Tracheostomy. A surgical procedure that creates an opening in the neck in order to provide an artificial airway.
  9. Chest Tube. A tube inserted through the chest wall to drain fluid or pus from the pleural cavity.
  10. Endotracheal Tube. A tube inserted through the mouth or nose into the trachea to provide an artificial airway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Life Support Technician?

A Life Support Technician is a healthcare professional who operates and monitors life-support systems to ensure the health and safety of a patient.

What qualifications do Life Support Technicians need?

Life Support Technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and may need additional certification depending on the type of life-support systems they work with.

What tasks do Life Support Technicians typically perform?

Life Support Technicians typically operate and monitor life-support systems, conduct patient assessments, administer medications, provide basic patient care, and record patient data.

What type of environment do Life Support Technicians work in?

Life Support Technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

What is the average salary for a Life Support Technician?

The average salary for a Life Support Technician is approximately $34,500 per year.

Web Resources

  • Life Support (ACLS and PALS) - Northeast Wisconsin Technical …
  • Life Support Training - University of Toledo
  • IT Support Technician - MTECH
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