Who's fully staffed?

captaindepth

Forum Lieutenant
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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).

Have you noticed, since dropping the experience requirement, that the newer paramedics are employed for a shorter time frame before moving onto something else? It seems like if most of the new hires are newer medics they would stay for experience but would then move to bigger systems, FDs, nursing school, PA school, etc..

I totally understand people wanting to gain experience and continue on with their careers but I DO NOT want our system to be viewed as a stepping stone, I want it to be viewed as the destination. This is the hardest part because it brings to light the biggest struggles and failures of the EMS profession as a whole.

If my math is right, then new hire paramedics (and newly certified paramedics from the sound of it) get to run about 150 calls before being cleared for independent duty. Have you noticed any trends with clinical errors for newly cleared medics? To me, 150 calls seems like too few to get through a field training program but I know I am coming from a high call volume system and many places don't have the "luxury" of running 30ish calls a week.

It feels like being "fully staffed" is a pipe dream and to get there, skeletons in the EMS closet will need to be reckoned with.
 

Aprz

Forum Deputy Chief
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We are super extremely beyond short staffed in the Bay Area.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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Have you noticed, since dropping the experience requirement, that the newer paramedics are employed for a shorter time frame before moving onto something else? It seems like if most of the new hires are newer medics they would stay for experience but would then move to bigger systems, FDs, nursing school, PA school, etc..

I totally understand people wanting to gain experience and continue on with their careers but I DO NOT want our system to be viewed as a stepping stone, I want it to be viewed as the destination. This is the hardest part because it brings to light the biggest struggles and failures of the EMS profession as a whole.

If my math is right, then new hire paramedics (and newly certified paramedics from the sound of it) get to run about 150 calls before being cleared for independent duty. Have you noticed any trends with clinical errors for newly cleared medics? To me, 150 calls seems like too few to get through a field training program but I know I am coming from a high call volume system and many places don't have the "luxury" of running 30ish calls a week.

It feels like being "fully staffed" is a pipe dream and to get there, skeletons in the EMS closet will need to be reckoned with.
The program is probably too new to know how long people will stay. Though the pay is above average for the area, being a small agency with minimal promotional opportunities will probably always be a retention issue. We used to go years without an opening, but at that time the call volume was around 1000 and people came to retire.

In terms of being a paramedic, I don't think you could really beat the place. Great guidelines and equipment, beautiful area, long but not arduous transports, I could go on. I think the FTO period is plenty adequate, AMR Colorado Springs wants at least 100 calls "ALS" before clearing as a comparison and the the amount of training we provide in addition to calls is significant given the six to seven month timeframe.

I would not have gone per diem and gone to work for a fire department (single role medic) if it wasn't for the pay and promotional opportunity. I got a very, very good foundation in my time there. The FTO was downright abusive then (every call for a year, while on 24s), and while it was a safety nightmare that I will always be disappointed I didn't put my foot down over, I did learn a lot.
 

GMCmedic

Forum Asst. Chief
695
333
63
Have you noticed, since dropping the experience requirement, that the newer paramedics are employed for a shorter time frame before moving onto something else? It seems like if most of the new hires are newer medics they would stay for experience but would then move to bigger systems, FDs, nursing school, PA school, etc..

I totally understand people wanting to gain experience and continue on with their careers but I DO NOT want our system to be viewed as a stepping stone, I want it to be viewed as the destination. This is the hardest part because it brings to light the biggest struggles and failures of the EMS profession as a whole.

If my math is right, then new hire paramedics (and newly certified paramedics from the sound of it) get to run about 150 calls before being cleared for independent duty. Have you noticed any trends with clinical errors for newly cleared medics? To me, 150 calls seems like too few to get through a field training program but I know I am coming from a high call volume system and many places don't have the "luxury" of running 30ish calls a week.

It feels like being "fully staffed" is a pipe dream and to get there, skeletons in the EMS closet will need to be reckoned with.
Ha! When I transitioned from EMT to Medic I was handed a Narc box and a new shirt and told to have fun. I ran 30 calls that first weekend.
 

CANMAN

Forum Asst. Chief
689
326
63
We are, never.... Small program with meh management and I think the word is out. I'm here for the money and beni's, and it's a union shop so the new people don't end up making out until they stay at least a year and a half or so. We have alot of turn over and always have 2 spots open on the medic side of the house it seems like. As soon as we hire and train up to full staffing someone else quits. Has been that way since I started 3 years ago.
 

ljayson

Forum Ride Along
2
0
1
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.
Fully staffed? What is that? A national continuing issue especially with volunteer companies and commercial ambulance services. I know of few large commercial services with ambos sitting idle because they cannot recruit good people even with bonuses, free additional training. It is sad because they have the business to keep the trucks staffed.
 

TransportJockey

Forum Chief
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Fully staffed? What is that? A national continuing issue especially with volunteer companies and commercial ambulance services. I know of few large commercial services with ambos sitting idle because they cannot recruit good people even with bonuses, free additional training. It is sad because they have the business to keep the trucks staffed.
I know plenty of medics who leave places like that because cost of living outpaces what they're willing to pay. Or they don't want to do it for free anymore
 
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