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2021 EMS Employee Turnover Study

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By OnShift Inc-Avesta Systems Inc, Dennis Doverspike, and Scott Moore

The American Ambulance Association (AAA) and Newton 360, an EMS-based performance management software platform, have joined forces to conduct the third annual survey of employee turnover in the EMS industry. This study was first conducted in 2018 and repeated in 2019.  The study was not conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges for EMS organizations and the EMS workforce. The EMS workforce rose to the challenge and battled the disease, despite the workforce shortages that have plagued the EMS profession for nearly a decade. EMS organizations stepped up by offering innovative solutions to public health crises, including establishing testing and vaccinations sites around the country, suggesting that EMS employers and employees are prepared to expand their role to include greater provision of preventive services and community-based healthcare. However, there was also an economic impact to many organizations as call volume decreased and the costs of providing services significantly increased.

The study evidences a need to embark upon a larger initiative to collect data on the EMS workforce in the U.S.  The EMS profession has been struggling with unprecedented workforce shortages for over a decade. The pandemic only exacerbated this shortage and highlighted our need to better understand the drivers of workforce turnover. Additionally, the need for EMS professionals is predicted to increase significantly by 2030.  In part, because of the recognition of the valuable education, training, and experience individuals working in the emergency medical services field offer in other healthcare settings.

This study is an important step in understanding the causes and scope of turnover in EMS.  We recommend that you carefully read and review the results of this study.  Additionally, you should compare your data with the results of this study and discuss with your leadership team.  To assist in the effort to attain greater insight to the factors driving turnover in EMS, we recommend that you systematically collect data on your organization’s workforce, including the reasons for turnover.  Lastly, we urge EMS leaders to encourage participation by all EMS provider types in the effort to collect and analyze EMS workforce data.