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Patient transporter jobs include ambulance drivers, helicopter pilots, critical care nurses, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians. Inside a hospital, patient transportation jobs typically require fewer medical skills when the employee takes patients to various departments for tests or certain treatments. Basic patient transporter jobs considered non-emergency might include driving a van to transport the elderly from nursing homes or assisted living centers to doctor appointments.
Drivers taking patients for lab tests or doctor visits usually know basic first aid and life-saving measures. They typically know how to use basic medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, to safely move patients into and out of the van. Drivers usually know how to operate oxygen tanks and use defibrillators, electronic devices that might restart a heart via electrical current.
Different levels of training apply to various patient transport jobs, ranging from basic life support to advanced life support skills and specialized nursing knowledge. Critically ill patients being transferred between hospitals or from accident scenes might need intravenous fluids or medication during the trip. Others might require artificial ventilation monitored by a paramedic or nurse trained in advanced life support practices.
In some patient transporter jobs, teams work together to care for critically ill patients. Nurses with specialized training in pediatrics or neonatal care typically accompany severely ill children to the hospital. Other teams specialize in cardiac patients by assessing their conditions and administering medication during an ambulance run. Respiratory therapists might also be on board an ambulance.
Patient transporter jobs related to an air ambulance include a pilot and an advanced life support team. Helicopters usually carry patients from remote accident scenes to hasten arrival to a hospital. They might be dispatched to serious auto accidents, natural disasters, and when heart attacks occur.
Most companies that specialize in moving patients operate a communications center. People who work in these patient transportation jobs might handle calls transferred from emergency police operators. The communication center typically maintains contact with hospitals, nurses, and doctors while the patient is in transit. Emergency workers in the ambulance usually report the patient’s vital signs and extent of injuries, and explain the type of emergency care or medicine administered.
An internal patient transporter job usually involves a gurney, bed, or wheelchair to carry patients from one area of a hospital to another. It might consist of taking patients from the intensive care unit to a regular hospital room, or moving patients to the laboratory for tests. People holding these positions usually obtain training in first aid and learn how to properly use medical equipment used to carry patients. They also typically receive instruction on confidentiality issues and on logs to keep track of patients.