Top Medications for EMS for Certifications

All medical professionals working within Emergency Medical Services (EMS) must have a thorough knowledge of all the drugs and medications they might be expected to use, including accurate dosages, adverse reactions, and special conditions.

At The Paramedic Coach, we often hear from students who have excelled during their studies but repeatedly fail the NREMT exam due to poor performance on paramedic pharmacology test questions caused by a lack of knowledge of the appropriate drug cards.

The NREMT exam process might feature multiple drugs, with common medicines featured on recent cognitive tests, including analgesics, anticoagulants, Beta2 agonists, narcotics, and medications used to stabilize and treat cardiac arrest, diabetes, and hypertension.

Why Do Emergency Responders Need to Learn Drug Cards to Pass the NREMT?

Drug cards are undoubtedly tricky to learn, and many students find that, with more than fifty potential medications that could crop up in the NREMT, they face an uphill struggle attempting to memorize a vast amount of information.

What gear do paramedics carry? An emergency response crew might stock multiple medications in emergency and health-critical scenarios. They need to understand not only which drugs to use in which circumstances or the types of allergies and contraindications that could apply but also how to administer each medication safely and according to clinical protocols.

The simplest solution is to focus on each widely used drug’s mechanism of action (MOA) and study the major drug types and classifications, where medications within the same group will use the same suffix. For example, if you know that ACE inhibitors, used to reduce blood pressure, end with the suffix ‘-pril,’ it becomes remarkably easier to recall that lisinopril and captopril are within this same drug classification.

We created the EMS Medications Mastery course to address this wide area of the curriculum, covering every drug you might need to answer questions about during your test. Using our zero-jargon approach, our students gain thorough knowledge about what drugs do and how they work, securing a competitive edge when answering questions under pressure.

How Does EMS Medications Mastery Help During the NREMT Exam?

NREMT tests are designed to examine your comprehension. It’s impossible to predict exactly what might feature on your exam as protocols are continually updated, and adaptive tests will select questions based on your performance thus far. However, you might be asked:

  • Multiple-choice questions in which there isn’t only one correct answer–instead, there might be one best answer and other responses that, while technically accurate, don’t represent the ideal clinical response to an emergency medicine situation.
  • Sequencing questions, where you’re given a list of actions or treatments and need to realign each step in the correct order–putting one item in the sequence in the wrong place will mean you do not gain a point.
  • Multiple scenario-based questions–you could be given a simple or complex situation and receive several questions, all based on the same patient.

The NREMT adaptive testing system is based on a confidence range, where the test needs to be 95% sure that the candidate has mastered all the content or be equally certain that they haven’t. As one of our most in-demand masterclasses, Medications Mastery helps you to respond quickly and correctly to any question in any format, drawing on your complete understanding of drug applications, administration techniques, special conditions, and safe dosages.

Which Drug Cards Should I Focus on During NREMT Test Prep?

There isn’t one specific list of drugs that will always come up on the NREMT exam, and it is never a good idea to skip over drug cards in the hopes that you’ll be able to hide gaps in your knowledge on testing day.

What is the most frequently administered medication by EMTs? Drugs that treat or manage seizures, cardiac emergencies, anaphylactic reactions, asthma attacks, and opioid abuse are among the common medicines that first responders use–but that may not necessarily mean that any of these will feature in your exam or that you won’t be asked a scenario-based question about a less typical medication.

The right approach to NREMT test prep is to work through a drug card study, use practice questions to get used to the exam format, and tap into our knowledge check quizzes so you can use your time wisely, concentrating on those areas of weakness that need a little extra effort!

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