Who's fully staffed?

NomadicMedic

EMS Edumacator
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I keep hearing that there's no shortage of EMS providers, but I'm curious how many of your agencies are fully staffed. In central PA, a paramedic (who's not a Effup) can have their pick of jobs and with some negotiating skill, get a very decent wage.
 

GMCmedic

Forum Asst. Chief
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We are, but then again there are only 6 of us.


None of the desireable services around here ever have shortages.
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
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We are always understaffed here. We hire 7 and by the time they are trained 7 others have quit.
 

hometownmedic5

Forum Asst. Chief
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I’m not high enough up the food chain to have the hard numbers, but from what I do know with a little extrapolation, I think we could absorb 50 street ready paramedics Monday morning and probably still have open shifts. Now, that’s both retail and 911 and it still probably wouldn’t eliminate the red on the schedule.

In regards to BLS, I truly have no idea what that number is, except to say it’s a lot; but I don’t know how many they would actually want to hire. There really isnt BLS overtime here, they just down the truck and make everybody who did show up for work pay for the missing members. If they hired 100% of the theoretical positions, the UHUs on the retail side would plummet, so I doubt they’re really looking to get to a full roster.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
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We are over staffed. We've started filling EMT shifts with medics. We are moving towards dual medic trucks.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
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My ground job is close to fully staffed. I think we are only down 1-2 medics but have a handful of EMTs who are finishing up medic school right now.

For my flight job we only have 1 clinical spot open in the state for a nurse. Medics are completely staffed.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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I was the last person hired on at my full time place to make full staffing. We are fortunate to have one extra FTE every shift so one of the engines has four. My old place upped their staffing which has been great though the part time paramedic roster has two people on it, myself included. Calloffs mean they pretty much lose a truck as there are so many new medics who aren't cleared to be with an EMT. Even my AMR op is mostly full, though it's designed to be lean and the crews are still getting killed.

Getting a decent job in Colorado takes a little bit of skill I would say.
 

TransportJockey

Forum Chief
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As of today we are short two. Monday is their first day as new grad nurses at a local hospital. But we already have two part time that are set to move up to those spots. We are kinda short part timers, but that's not too bad.
At my service to promote you have to wait for someone to retire (yep we do have people retire) or die.
 

RocketMedic

Earl of the Wheeled Chair
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We’re at about 75 percent
 

Bullets

Forum Knucklehead
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My tour at my real ALS job is fully staffed except for 1 dispatcher. The department is probably about 80%. We need more EMTs
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Want an application Nomad? We're 68 short.
 

rescue1

Forum Asst. Chief
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My old job (suburban Philly) was never fully staffed. There were a zillion medic jobs nearby so there was a decent amount of turnover everywhere, and we were very busy so we had more than most.

You could make a decent wage by EMS standards, but the local career fire departments and police definitely had better pay and benefits, at least after a few years.
 

captaindepth

Forum Lieutenant
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I think we are somewhere around 6-10 paramedics short of our goal right now, and in the five years I have been part of the paramedic division it seems like we are always just short of our staffing goal. It seems like there are a number of factors that lead to this chronic under par state and I'm curious about other systems way of handling things.

One big factor is attrition, I am not sure the exact numbers but I think our attrition rate is somewhere around 15%. At first this number didn't seem too high, but with over 200 paramedics, loosing 15% of our staffing is a big hit every year. Especially since we are trying to increase our staffing for expanding call volumes (approx. 5-10% increase a year). What kind of turn over do other medium/big inner city departments/systems have?

Another factor is the number of qualified candidates that apply for positions, and how to attract experienced medics to apply. We recently have had A LOT of out of state applicants (which is awesome) but many of them seem unprepared to function independently when they walk through the door. I'm not sure if the system specific differences are overwhelming or if there is unrealistic expectations for new hire paramedics, but there is a definite trend that we are getting inexperienced providers (both out of state and in state applicants). What kind of new hire field training programs have you all found to be the most successful? Time based programs, competency based programs, or something in between?
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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I think we are somewhere around 6-10 paramedics short of our goal right now, and in the five years I have been part of the paramedic division it seems like we are always just short of our staffing goal. It seems like there are a number of factors that lead to this chronic under par state and I'm curious about other systems way of handling things.

One big factor is attrition, I am not sure the exact numbers but I think our attrition rate is somewhere around 15%. At first this number didn't seem too high, but with over 200 paramedics, loosing 15% of our staffing is a big hit every year. Especially since we are trying to increase our staffing for expanding call volumes (approx. 5-10% increase a year). What kind of turn over do other medium/big inner city departments/systems have?

Another factor is the number of qualified candidates that apply for positions, and how to attract experienced medics to apply. We recently have had A LOT of out of state applicants (which is awesome) but many of them seem unprepared to function independently when they walk through the door. I'm not sure if the system specific differences are overwhelming or if there is unrealistic expectations for new hire paramedics, but there is a definite trend that we are getting inexperienced providers (both out of state and in state applicants). What kind of new hire field training programs have you all found to be the most successful? Time based programs, competency based programs, or something in between?
My old job dumped experience requirements which has done really great things for the agency. The full time ops staff is 18 so obviously this is not a direct comparison, but it's paid dividends by engaging the previous generation of paramedics into training the new (and also much younger group). At the same time, they can be molded into the paramedics the agency wants and we don't have to pay extra for experience. If anything the quality of care has improved and the morale seems to be better. The problem lies amongst the super old school folks who just refuse to get on board, and one has an influential leadership position which has made the transition harder.

The FTO process remains intensive, with a lot of different didactic and hands on assessments, daily chats about performance, and a sit down meeting at the end of each ~two month phase with the entire shift. 3000 calls with three or so ambulances so not busy but not slow either and an effort is made to have new medics "first out" for as many calls as is safe. It takes a paramedic with less than two years of experience about seven months to get be cleared to work with EMTs and and additional two months to meet all the requirements (single provider mental health responses being the biggest process).
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
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I don't know specifically, but I can only think of a two month span this past winter where our staffing was full. Otherwise, we have always been short in my time here. I think the recent new hire group had something like 10 BLS providers that are all going to BLS trucks. The ALS side always has holes, but a few more exist now that some people got fired.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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The local EMS system is never fully staffed. Trucks go OOS for staffing daily. That seems to be pretty common around the area, with most of the surrounding agencies actively looking for paramedics, and hiring EMTs regularly.

The question I would ask you is by fully staffed, do you mean all the FTEs are full? Or you have enough people to maintain staffing numbers while permitting people to be out sick, take vacations, and be out on injuries?

As a general rule, the desirable places never have shortages, and frequently have a waiting list of applicants willing to work for them. So you might have a 6 months period where the new person goes from hired until fully released, but in general, people don't leave.

Another factor is the number of qualified candidates that apply for positions, and how to attract experienced medics to apply.
That's the truth. Few places want newbie medics, they all want experienced providers with proven track records (from what I heard, many hospitals are the same way when it comes to nurses). Even on the EMT level, if you are hiring paramedic assistants, any EMT with a pulse and a patch will do, provided they can drive and do what the medic tells them to do; but if you want EMTs who can function independently of a paramedic, that's a different story.
 
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