Are you ready to be on your toes for 90% of your work hours? Are you interested in helping patients in case of emergencies and critical illnesses? Can you be prompt enough to take decisions and handle patients who are in critical condition? If yes then you should consider being a part of the Emergency & Critical Health Care unit and follow your interest. Read on to find out more about this career, who Emergency & Critical Care Technologists are and what they do. Emergency & Critical Care Technologists provide instant aid to patients suffering from cardiac failure, stroke, trauma, accident or those suffering from critical and life-threatening illnesses. They also help in monitoring; operating and managing the high-tech medical devices and medical equipment that require expert knowledge and experience.
Why become an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist?
Emergency & Critical Care Technologists are healthcare professionals involved in the management of patients with life-threatening injuries and trauma or with complex medical and surgical illnesses which require emergency attention and treatment at hospitals. They work at Emergency and Trauma Care facilities of hospitals, at Intensive Care Units (ICUs), Operation Theatres (OTs), or at similar facilities. Emergency & Critical Care Technologists are also responsible for installing, maintaining and operating hi-tech medical devices and various types of medical equipment for patient care.
As an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist, you would provide basic yet crucial emergency medical care to critically ill or injured patients who need on-the-spot diagnosis and treatment. The critically ill patients might have dysfunction of organs such as the liver or kidney, might be suffering from cardiac failure, might have suffered strokes or might have multiple injuries from an accident. You would be a part of the emergency care department and perform emergency medical procedures (basic life support/cardiac life support/ and similar) under the directed supervision of other healthcare professionals.
First, let us understand what machines/equipment Emergency & Critical Care technologists would be engaged with and what services do they provide in the treatment of patients. As an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist you would:
- Manage the functional operation of equipment like ventilators(used to help patients breathe); defibrillators and monitors (used to measure vital body functions like heart and brain activity); dialysis machines (used to filter blood when kidneys fail to function properly), infusion pumps and syringe drivers (used to deliver drugs/food to patients body via veins), etc.
- Regularly check and interact with patients in intensive care, ensure fully operational equipment/ devices used for heart rate and heart electrical tracing (ECG); oxygen levels in the blood; blood pressure, etc.
- Assist nurses and other medical professionals in handling/operating high-end machines and devices that require expertise in technology
- Track and measure patients’ measurements/recordings on machines
- Provide basic health assistance to patients such as inserting drips or catheters; tracking temperature; monitoring blood pressure; taking blood samples, etc.
Now that you know about the machines and equipment that you would be engaged with, you must also know that this healthcare field involves many other professionals under whose guidance and support you would work but not entirely. As an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist, you would have a lot of technical knowledge and know-how of high-end machines and equipment, so your job would majorly be operating these high-tech machines in hospitals while the actual medical treatment would be performed by doctors and medical professionals. Understand that as soon as the patient is brought in, the primary treatment would be done by medical doctors and experienced professionals. In situations where a patient undergoes critical surgery or treatment, there would be a number of high-tech machines/devices for which you would be in charge of.
Therefore, as an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist, you would be responsible for providing technical assistance to surgical teams and doctors; preparing the facility (OT or ICU) for surgeries and operating machines like ventilators and other life care devices that need constant tracking and efficient functioning. A job in this career is not only challenging but requires extra caution, knowledge, and training in a particular field.
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What does Emergency & Critical Care Technologist do?
As an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist, you would be engaged in one or more of the following roles and responsibilities:
- You would respond to emergency medical assistance in cases of accident/ trauma or cardiac failure, etc.
- You would assess a patient’s condition and keep track of necessary monitoring devices
- You would provide first-aid treatment or life support care to sick or injured patients
- You would be involved in transferring patients to the emergency department of a hospital or other healthcare facility
- You would report their observations and treatment to physicians, nurses, or other healthcare facility staff
- You would be involved in setting up equipment, connecting patients and regularly monitoring the medical devices/equipment being used
- You would carry out regular maintenance checks of intensive care equipment and bedside
- You would also work with other healthcare professionals during life-threatening events.
- You would be involved in advising and training medical staff on the use of equipment
How to become an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist – Eligibility Criteria
After completing higher secondary education, you can go for a B.Sc. in Accident & Emergency Care Technology/ Critical Care Technology and start working as an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist. Although not many students pursue further studies after graduation as they start working as technologists in hospitals and healthcare centers but in case you wish to study further you can go for a master’s degree in Emergency Medical Technology or a similar field.
After completing higher secondary education, you may pursue a Diploma in Accident & Emergency Care Technology / Critical Care Technology. After completing the diploma, you can directly start working as an Emergency & Critical Care Technician.
The fees for becoming an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist in India may vary depending on the institution and program you to choose to enroll in. However, here is a rough estimate of the fees for pursuing this career in India:
- Diploma in Emergency Medical Technician (EMT): The course fee for a diploma in an EMT program can range from INR 10,000 to INR 50,000.
- Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Emergency & Critical Care Technology: The course fee for a BSc program in Emergency & Critical Care Technology can range from INR 1 lakh to INR 5 lakhs
- Postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Medical Services (PGDEMS): The course fee for a PGDEMS program can range from INR 20,000 to INR 1 lakh.
- Certificate courses in Emergency & Critical Care Technology: The course fee for certificate courses can range from INR 5,000 to INR 20,000.
Please note that these are approximate fees and may vary from one institution to another. It is always advisable to check with the respective institution for the exact fee structure before applying for any course.
As an Emergency & Critical Care Technologist, you may find job opportunities in:
- Government hospitals/ health care centers such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, etc
- Private hospitals/ health care centers such as Medanta, Fortis, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Institute, Apollo Hospital, Artemis Hospital, etc.
Salary of Emergency & Critical Care Technologist
As a Trainee or Technician at Entry level, you may earn around Rs.12,000 – 18,000 per month.
At the Junior-level with an experience of 1- 4 years you may earn around Rs. 15,000 – 28,000 a month. Higher salaries are offered at Government hospitals and other Government-owned healthcare centers.
At Mid-level with an experience of 5-12 years, you may earn around Rs. 20,000 – 65,000 a month.
At Senior-level with an experience of 12-20 years, you may earn around Rs. 50,000 – 1,65,000 per month or more per month. Higher salaries are offered at Government hospitals and other Government-owned healthcare centers.
Career Progression in Emergency & Critical Care Technologist Profession
You can start your career as an Emergency & Critical Care Technician directly after completing your Diploma or you can skip this step by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Care Technology/ Critical Care Technology and start working as a Technologist. In several government/private hospitals the terminology used for Emergency & Critical Care Technologists could also be Consultant Intensivist or Critical Care Specialist. You may progress in any government or private hospital as:
Emergency & Critical Care Technician –Assistant Technician – Senior Technician/ Critical Care Technologist
Please note that the highest position in several government or private hospitals could be a consultant or senior Technologist in Critical Care centers although you can become Emergency Medical Officer. In order to become an Emergency Medical Officer, you will need to have pursued MBBS and relevant work experience in emergency and trauma care facilities.
What does industry trends say – Future Prospects
As the number of emergencies such as accidents and natural disasters is increasing rapidly, Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care have become the need of the hour. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare industry is estimated to rise at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16-17 % to record Rs. 8.6 Trillion by the year 2022. This means that there is a significant scope of improving healthcare services as healthcare spending as a percentage of GDP Gross Domestic Product is on the rise. The government of India is planning on increasing investment on public health spending to a percentage of 2.5% of the total GDP by the year 2025. The healthcare sector in India is one of the fastest-growing sectors and will reach to an estimate of around $280 Billion by the year 2020. India has also become a one-stop destination for high-end diagnostic services and is attracting a number of capital advancements for advanced diagnostic facilities. This has led to consumers more aware and conscious about their healthcare choices and services. Many private and government hospitals have adopted high-end technological services in the emergency and critical care services catering to the rising demands. Therefore, a career in this allied healthcare sector would witness immense demand in the upcoming years.
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