• Tammy Euliano

Allied Health Personnel: Who are they?

EMTs vs paramedics

Optometrists vs ophthalmologists

Anesthetists vs anesthesiologists

In your novel, which term should you use when?

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

The most common providers riding ambulances, fire trucks, etc are EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). They complete about 150 hours of training and can provide CPR, oxygen, glucose for diabetics, but they can’t start IV’s or give many medications. Paramedics, on the other hand, complete 10x the hours of education and can administer medications, start IVs, manage airways, and more. So if your victim needs a breathing tube, an IV, or major resuscitation, be sure you call the main provider a paramedic and not an EMT.


  • NPs (nurse practitioners) are nurses with additional graduate school training. Many subspecialize in critical care, pediatrics, etc.

  • CRNAs (certified registered nurse anesthetists) practice anesthesia, generally under the supervision of a physician anesthesiologist.

  • PAs (physician assistants) are not necessarily nurses first, but must have some direct patient care experience to gain acceptance. They generally work under the authority of a physician, and many subspecialize.

  • Optometrists check general eye health and prescribe glasses, ophthalmologists are physicians who also prescribe medications and perform surgery.

  • Midwives can do prenatal checks and deliver babies, but an obstetrician is required for cesarean delivery.  Interestingly, there are two different kinds of midwives with very different skill sets.


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© 2020 Tammy Y. Euliano