Thanks to a new executive order from the governor, and a waiver from the NJ Department of Health, Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), are now allowed to aid in medical transportation in New Jersey due in part to recent changes in demand in the field due to COVID-19.
The earlier standard required two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) staff members in an ambulance while transporting patients --- one as the driver and one rendering care. The current standard allows one EMT and one EMR to staff an ambulance.
Now more than ever, becoming an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) is a great way for individuals to enter the EMS field and grow within the healthcare industry. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions answered about the newest EMS role in New Jersey, the differences between an EMT, and how to get started today.
What exactly is an EMR position? What are the roles, responsibilities, and the necessary training? How exactly does it differ from being an EMT?
An EMR is essentially a level below EMT as it relates to certification --- similar to an EMT’s assistant --- and it has replaced the First Responder program here in New Jersey. The difference now is that an EMR is certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT).
The training process includes a 45-hour course which costs approximately $300 and the certification is valid for two years once obtained. You must also pass a criminal background check and have a valid driver’s license.
The EMT certification process, in contrast, requires passing a 190-hour course at a collegiate level. EMRs will not be able to handle all the responsibilities that EMTs do --- similar to the relationship between EMTs and Paramedics.
Learn more about the NREMT’s standards between certification and licensure here.
What can an EMR expect to do throughout the day?
The primary responsibility is driving the ambulance, transporting patients to and from various medical facilities and/or home in non-emergency as well as 911 situations. EMRs are able to perform lifesaving tasks such as CPR, assisting with deep lacerations, stabilizing the patient for transport, pulling the necessary tools for the EMT, and more.
EMRs also communicate with dispatch regarding transportation status and medical facility staff for critical information. Additional duties include providing oxygen therapy, lifting the stretcher, and securing the patient for transport. An EMR will also document transportation activities to ensure all information is accurate and handle overall ambulance maintenance.
If someone wants to become an EMT, might he or she be well served to start off as an EMR?
Starting as an EMR will give a taste of what you would do out in the field. You can work as an EMR while completing an EMT certification. The transition from EMR to EMT is a great stepping stone because it requires less field training since EMRs will already have the necessary experience.
How about switching from an MAVO to EMR? Is that a reasonable transition? Who else is the EMR position ideal for?
Those who are already working in the field as Mobility Assistance Vehicle Drivers (MAVOs) are often a great fit for this role because they are already working for a private ambulance company, they’re in the EMS field, and they have patient-client experience. They know how to properly lift/move, understand what a stair chair is, do carry-ups, and have a safety culture instilled as an employee. MAVOs also have safe driving experience with large vehicles which is the primary responsibility of an EMR.
What are the next steps to become an EMR?
The first step is to register for your EMR certification course. If you need assistance with this step, contact the recruiter from the private ambulance company you’re applying to, and they will help in setting you up with a class.
If you would like to inquire about working at On Time, as an Emergency Medical Responder, EMT, or any other position, visit our career page linked below.
Have more questions? Looking to become an EMR or EMT in New Jersey?
You can reach out to our Recruiter, Marlene, at ontimetransport.com/careers with anything else you’d like to know.
Thank you for reading.