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May 11, 2012
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In the next few years I will be opening a fitness facility that will include programs for people with chronic diseases that are stable. I'm not trying to enter into the realm of working with unstable cardiac patients because that is already well established in cardiac rehabilitation programs at hospitals. In any case, regardless of whether the person has any chronic disease, it is always possible that something could happen.

I live in a town of ~30,000 and I would guess that EMS would respond to my future location in a matter of minutes. Despite this, I was thinking about becoming an EMT-B. In the event of an emergency, I believe that every minute counts. I know the chance of survival drops very quickly with cardiac events.

I am already certified in BLS which I think is the baseline. However, while I do not know the entire scope of an EMT-B (I skimmed through guidelines for my state), I believe that the ability to distribute aspirin, a patient's nitroglycerin, oxygen, etc. could be valuable. I would also like to think that potential clients would feel safer knowing that there was an EMT-B on at all times.

In the grand scheme of things, do you think I would have time to use any of the scope of an EMT-B? Without having taken the course, I would assume that BLS would still be the first step with some emergencies. Are there any other options for fitness professionals in this type of a setting that would allow me to improve the safety and outcomes of those with emergency situations?

Just to give everyone an idea, the clients I would be working with would be more along the lines of cancer patients, stable cardiac/stroke patients, neurological, and musculoskeletal diseases. I would leave the high risk individuals to hospital programs.
 

Deranged Medic

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While I do not have any answers towards other options for fitness professionals, becoming an EMT would provide you with some skills to help patients if an emergency would occur.

Something you should probably look into: it is correct most states let EMTs administer aspirin, nitro, etc, but you usually have to have a physician medical director before you administer the medications, since EMS providers usually run under protocols, which are basically a doctor's orders to do "y" if "x" happens. These protocols are authorized by the medical director, and some debate exists in EMS on whether the EMS providers are actually providing these interventions on their own or if they are an actual extension of the physician. (If I start an IV, did I do it or did my medical director do it?) In my state, I believe you can not even have a bottle of oxygen in your home/business/vehicle unless it is either prescribed to you, or you have a drug license signed by your medical director. Unless you have a drug license or are authorized by a physician, it is unlikely you will be able to have some of these medications on hand to administer to a patient.

As for becoming an EMT-go for it. You will learn some valuable skills. Research has shown that unless bystanders start CPR, cardiac arrest patients, will have little chance of survival by the time EMS responders arrive. The ability to determine what you need to do in an emergent situation can be lifesaving, especially if you will be working with elderly patients.

While I am sure there are others who can answer your questions better than me, I am quite willing to help if you have more questions.
 

joeDO2

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its great that you are thinking ahead and being proactive with this. i agree with the above poster that in many cases, you will not be able to practice to the full scope of an emt-b outside of the ems system. in the majority of states you must be under a medical control physician and licensed ems agency; otherwise you can only provide care to the first responder level. that being said, taking the course would not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the material and learn some new skills along the way. some things you could do to ensure safety at your facility is to make sure all of the staff is BLS certified; make sure you have an AED that is accessible and well marked in the facility; train your staff on how to respond when an emergency takes place and go over the detailed procedures ahead of time; it is often helpful when a new facility opens to offer tours to the local ems agency to let them know your location, entrances/access, etc. this can save time when they are requested later.
 
OP
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SFT

May 11, 2012
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Thank you for the responses. That is unfortunate that I would not be able to practice everything that I am trained in. In any case, I would certainly make sure of proper AED placement and that all staff is BLS certified. To the best of anyone's knowledge, would any affiliation with a local EMS provider change anything? I guess at the end of the day if all I can do is first aid and CPR/AED, it is still certainly better than nothing.
 

Deranged Medic

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I do not think any affiliation would matter unless you were to somehow make yourself an employee of the system-under their insurance and authorized to practice under their medical director. This might even require you to have your own drug license for your facility, as I think we are required to have a drug license for each address where we have a station (I could be mistaken). Unfortunately, unless the medical director is your significant other, you probably would have a heck of a time finding a doc (or EMS agency) to go along with this...
 
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OP
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SFT

May 11, 2012
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Well I guess I will rely on proximity to an EMS provider. I may end up taking the course anyways, or perhaps a First Responder course.
 

docB

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I think it would be valuable for a fitness professional. Fist off the administration of drugs at that level is a minimal portion of the skill set. You can let a patient take their own drugs. Second, having better knowledge of the AED is one of the most effective things you can do, particularly with the patient population you mentioned. Lastly you will be better able to care for falls, fractures, sprains an so on which will happen frequently.

I would also think a fitness person would enjoy the anatomy and physiology you learn as an EMT.