EMT Exam: How to Interact with Others on the Scene of an Emergency

By Arthur Hsieh

EMS providers deal with human beings. So be prepared for questions dealing with real emergencies on the EMT exam. You need to be able to listen attentively and communicate clearly. These skills come naturally to some, while others need to work at them. If you’re part of the second group, take a deep breath and relax. You can learn how to do this through diligence and lots of practice.

The most important people you need to communicate with are your patients. Keep in mind why you’re there with them in the first place — no one calls for EMS because she’s having a great day! No matter how minor an injury or illness may seem to you, it was a big enough deal for her to ask you to come. Be empathetic with your patients.

Put yourself in their shoes and be supportive and respectful. Remember the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Often, there are family members, friends, coworkers, and bystanders who are witnesses to the emergency incident. Some can be deeply affected by what they observe. This is especially true when someone is critically ill or injured, or dead on-scene. You need to pay some attention to others on the scene to explain to them what’s happening.

You have to work delicately — privacy issues do apply, even in these situations — but tending to others helps to relieve some of the fear and anxiety that they feel during such a crisis.

Just as no EMT ever really works alone, no EMS agency works alone. By definition, EMS is a community-based endeavor. Without people in the community getting sick or injured, there would be no need for EMS.

Think about this: When people call for EMS, they don’t get a choice of who comes to take care of them. Regardless of who it is, they expect to be treated with respect, compassion, and good-quality care. Living up to that expectation can be a challenge!

To foster great relations with your community, engage them outside of emergency calls. From open houses to low-cost or free CPR or first-aid training, find different ways to show your “customers” how much you care for them. When the time comes, they’ll be supportive of you!