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Code of Conduct for Paramedics

Updated April 17, 2017

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)--the group that sets the standards for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics--was founded in 1975, and adopted its code of ethics, written by Dr. Charles Gillespie, in 1978.

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Promote Health and Avoid Harm

A paramedic's chief responsibility is to use his skills and training to promote health and avoid harm. Paramedics are charged with helping anyone in need, regardless of personal prejudices. They must also work in tandem with other members of the medical community, such as physicians and nurses, to see that the patient is properly attended to.

Paramedics and the Law

The code of ethics states that even as private citizens, paramedics must uphold the law. As professionals, paramedics are expected to participate in any legislative process that affects emergency medical care. A paramedic must report other paramedics who engage in illegal or unethical procedures or practices, to the proper authorities.


The code of ethics emphasises that the paramedic is a professional, who must maintain competence and uphold the highest standards of emergency care. Paramedics may not ask an untrained private citizen to perform a task that should be performed by an EMT or paramedic.

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About the Author

Debra Stang

Debra Stang is a licensed social worker and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on Suite101.com, Bella Online, the National Association for Social Workers website, and Open Travel Info. Her brochure for bereaved families, "What to Do When a Crisis Occurs" won a Missouri Hospital Association award.

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