EMS Pay Sucks!! Part 2 – Identifying the problem

Welcome back to the “Life Under the Lights Bar and Grille”, your local dive bar filled with lousy food, tepid beer, bad ambiance, and great friends. Like any local Midwestern dive bar, it’s a come-as-you-are-and-sit-on-down-and-hang-with-your-buds kinda place. A conversation has broken out on the topic of “EMS Pay Sucks!! Let’s DO something about it!!” and me, your local blogger has decided to write a series of posts explaining the issues as I see them.

 So, if you haven’t been here to read the last two, I suggest you go back and read them before you read this. If you don’t, well then that’s your choice. It’s a pretty informal place we have here.

 Part 1: “EMS Pay Sucks!! Let’s DO something about it!!”

Part 2: “EMS Pay Sucks!! (Part 2) – Identifying the Problem (you’re here)

Part 3: “EMS Pay Sucks!! (Part 3) – Who or what is at fault here?

———————

The way our country compensates its EMS personnel is an abomination. It’s almost criminal, it’s inhumane, and it’s just plain wrong. Paramedics and EMTs do not deserve to live at, near, or below the poverty line simply because they chose to make a career out of helping others. We do not deserve the shame of being struggling from paycheck to paycheck. We do not deserve the hardships of trying to raise a family and continuously have to explain to them just why it is we have to work so many hours and have such little in our paychecks to show for it.

I know that EMS compensation is frankly despicable… but you don’t have to take my word for it. There is a lot written on the subject that comes from some very credible sources. Some examples:

Favorite Quote (but the read the link to get even angrier):

“Paramedics

What they do: Paramedics respond to emergency situations and attempt to provide the necessary medical care, whether it involves transporting participants to a hospital or treating them on the scene.

Surprising salary: $27,070. Seeing as paramedics have high stress jobs that require them to be on call and ready to save lives at a moment’s notice, you might expect their mean annual salary to be higher.”

”Other workers in occupations that require quick and level-headed reactions to life-or-death situations are:

All those links work, by the way. Here’s a little pre-test question for you: Of those “occupations” listed above, which one is markedly the lowest paid??

I’ve been in full-time EMS for over ten years and currently work two-full time paramedic jobs. Not only do I feel the low wages, awful benefits, and long hours personally, but I also see what my coworkers go through with their lives and their families. What does one do when their calling is something so vital to the community, yet is so unappreciated financially that it hurts their families and their future?

In my travels throughout the nation I have had the chance to seek out and speak with EMS people in a lot of localities. I tend to visit odd places and I make it a point to seek out and get into conversations with interesting strangers. Luckily, all of the EMS people I know seem to fit the description of being “interesting”. I’ve heard them speak of the same problems that I’ve experienced. I’ve seen the pain and embarrassment in their eyes as they describe their love for the job and try to downplay the fact that they’re struggling financially. I’ve heard the same stories almost every time I’ve spoken with them. When they were young and new to the profession the long hours and low wages didn’t matter all that much to them… However, once they spend about five to ten years working the box they tend to experience the same struggles that I have. Spouses and Children don’t like it when the EMS person continues to work 100 hours a week to earn a paycheck that only comes close to covering the bills. They don’t like not having any disposable income. They don’t like the 24/7 demands of the job too much either. These facts rear their ugly heads when the EMS provider reaches a certain point in their life, and a career in EMS gets harder and harder to justify. Ever wonder why you don’t see many EMS professionals that have been continuously working full-time EMS for more than ten or so years? It’s for this reason. Sure there are a lot of exceptions, but I would think that the statistical clustering would bear this out. Eighteen-to-twenty year olds enter the profession, become family people around five-to-ten years later, and realize that the hours and the money they get for those hours are killing their family life… then they get other jobs, or stay in EMS and become very bitter about it.

So if I were to be asked to identify the problem using words that everyone could understand, I’d say this:

“The public is counting on the people in Emergency Medical Services to protect the lives of themselves and their loved ones. They then turn around and compensate them for this task at about the level they compensate fry cooks. They demand that there is a paramedic or EMT immediately available to them at all times to help them when the unthinkable happens, but they aren’t willing to pay them more than they do their bartender or waitress. People need advanced care immediately available to them in order to maintain the quality and presence of their lives after an emergency, and they need highly trained, experienced, and dedicated people to provide that care, but all that care seems to be worth to them is poverty-level income. What is wrong with our priorities?”

What is wrong with our priorities indeed.

I think that the above information is enough to identify that I think there is indeed a problem here. It’s an almost overwhelmingly complex problem as well. However, if it were an easy problem to fix, it would have been fixed by now. Fixing this has become mandatory for me, as it is mandatory for all of you. I’m writing this to contribute to the solutions that we’ll have to put into place, and by participating in this, you’ll be too. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting parts in this series, because I don’t think that one post will provide as many angles as I feel I need to.

One thing I do know, we’re going to act on what I put out here and on what you add to the discussion in the comments section and in your daily lives. We can no longer hope someone else will act. I ask every person who reads this to participate for our own well-being and the improvement of our profession. We’re not going to agree on everything, but “perfection is the enemy of the Good Enough”. Complete consensus is not necessary, action for our collective professional well-being is.

Coming tomorrow: EMS Pay Sucks!! Part 3 – Who or what is at fault here?

  • http://pedrotheparamedic.blogspot.com/ Pedro the Paramedic

    Let's see if we can't put together a real quick profile of a typical EMS worker. For the purposes of this exercise I don't think it really matters if you are an EMT or a Paramedic- ready, let's begin…
    You're a caring, compassionate person- at least on some level. You're an independent worker, a problem solver, a conflict resolver. You're able to complete your mission without supervision or outside help utilizing everything from hand tools to no tools to the resources of an entire city.
    You have a strong sense of duty, a sense of obligation to your community and mankind in general…
    So, what does that make you in the eyes of the folks you “work for”?
    Let Pedro the Paramedic tell you- it makes you the most easily exploited workforce in the nation.
    (from da archives)

  • tclemans

    “Ever wonder why you don’t see many EMS professionals that have been continuously working full-time EMS for more than ten or so years?”

    Where I live, directly South of the City of Seattle, it's exactly the opposite. I think partly due to the retirement age at KCM1 being 65 there are a number of medics who have been with KCM1 for upwards of 30 years. Based on information I got from a news story, one paramedic in particular will have logged 40 years if he retires at 65. I ran into a number of medics wearing gray tops which I believe is only wore by the medics who have been there for 20+ years.

  • tclemans

    “Ever wonder why you don’t see many EMS professionals that have been continuously working full-time EMS for more than ten or so years?”

    Where I live, directly South of the City of Seattle, it's exactly the opposite. I think partly due to the retirement age at KCM1 being 65 there are a number of medics who have been with KCM1 for upwards of 30 years. Based on information I got from a news story, one paramedic in particular will have logged 40 years if he retires at 65. I ran into a number of medics wearing gray tops which I believe is only wore by the medics who have been there for 20+ years.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffmedic Jeff Anderson

    This is a tough issue you have chosen to tackle. I have been thinking about this for years as well and here is what have come up with. It may sound cold but we are paid according to how hard it is to replace us. The harder it is to replace us, the better we will be treated.
    It doesn't matter what the content of our work is, we can't beat supply and demand. If the supply of EMS workers is plentiful then we won't be paid as well because we are easily replaced. If people will do our work for free, then we won't be paid at all. One of the reasons the groups you referenced in the post are doing better than we are us that they have selection processes that reduce the supply of potential employees. Our profession has very low entry requirements and most agencies are looking for little more than a pulse and a patch. The agencies that do have higher standards tend to pay better and have better benefits.
    On the demand side, we have not done a good job defining our value to the communities we serve. We are not associated with police, teachers, or nurses as being vital to the community. We are not thought of until we are needed. Additionally, many citizens associate EMS with the fire service so they assume that when they support the fire department they think this includes EMS even when it may not.
    We should take a page from other professions and raise our entry standards. The ruckus that the NREMT accreditation requirement has stirred up is an example of why we in this mess. Medics want to have as minimal education as possible yet be paid and respected the same as people who went to school for several years. With higher entry requirements comes fewer better qualified, medics so agencies have to pay more and work harder at retention.
    We should also do a better job of promoting our profession in the communities we serve. We need to be seen as important all the time, not just after an emergency has happened.

  • http://thehappymedic.com the Happy Medic

    CK, I like your set up, but I feel let down after the title of the post was “Identifying the problem.” I understand the problem is poor pay and benefits but what is the root of that? That was the problem I was hoping you were to address. Why is EMS as a whole paid so poorly?

    Mr Anderson in a post above mine mentioned “The agencies that do have higher standards tend to pay better and have better benefits.” I agree.

    Could it be that to save a buck or turn a profit some agencies will hire brand new or troubled EMTs, look the other way when they have medical conditions that could cause a fatal accident or avoid a background check in case the only person who applied is rejected?

    I reject the supply and demand argument however. The industry is screaming for more EMTs and Paramedics. For every 2 students I see, easily 3 professionals are moving on to other fields, mainly for pay or stress relief. The demand is overwhelming, so the market models tell us the salary and benefits should be attracting applicants, yet they are not.

    Quality education seems to be an issue from what I'm reading. But I got a good one and landed a great job with a competitive salary.

    The good paying jobs are out there, you just have to be willing to get up and look for them. Does that mean working for the big red machine? Sometimes. Does it mean hanging up your turnouts and jocking a box? Sometimes.

    In the grander scheme EMS salaries have languished behind other professions, but we're only 43 years old and have yet to really make noise politically. And forums like this one have only been taken seriously for 1-2 years.
    If only we had a nationwide platform, a TV program we could influence and shape to express our concerns to he masses. No, everyone blew that chance just because the first 3 episodes were “so unreal.” Now we're trying to do it again and few seem to care.

    It boils down to this. If you've got the bare minimum license and run 3 calls a day do you deserve the same salary as someone with an associate's degree running 20 runs a shift? And who do you want to enforce that?
    I've found that many of the same folks demanding someone do something to raise their pay are the first to complain when another agency does the same thing.

    Sorry to rant in your comments CK, feel free to delete if inappropriate.
    HM

    • Zzess

      I agree. I think that it’s time produced a EMS hollywood blockbuster that helps to show the kind of people that the field attracts, and the difficulties that the career entails, without making it look like a field that will bring in millions of more hopefulls to a “glamorous” big screen industry.

      Not talking about Brining out the dead.

  • http://thehappymedic.com the Happy Medic

    Mr Clemans, any chance of resurrecting the EMS 2.0 Foundation you founded a while back?

  • http://thehappymedic.com the Happy Medic

    CK, I like your set up, but I feel let down after the title of the post was “Identifying the problem.” I understand the problem is poor pay and benefits but what is the root of that? That was the problem I was hoping you were to address. Why is EMS as a whole paid so poorly?

    Mr Anderson in a post above mine mentioned “The agencies that do have higher standards tend to pay better and have better benefits.” I agree.

    Could it be that to save a buck or turn a profit some agencies will hire brand new or troubled EMTs, look the other way when they have medical conditions that could cause a fatal accident or avoid a background check in case the only person who applied is rejected?

    I reject the supply and demand argument however. The industry is screaming for more EMTs and Paramedics. For every 2 students I see, easily 3 professionals are moving on to other fields, mainly for pay or stress relief. The demand is overwhelming, so the market models tell us the salary and benefits should be attracting applicants, yet they are not.

    Quality education seems to be an issue from what I'm reading. But I got a good one and landed a great job with a competitive salary.

    The good paying jobs are out there, you just have to be willing to get up and look for them. Does that mean working for the big red machine? Sometimes. Does it mean hanging up your turnouts and jocking a box? Sometimes.

    In the grander scheme EMS salaries have languished behind other professions, but we're only 43 years old and have yet to really make noise politically. And forums like this one have only been taken seriously for 1-2 years.
    If only we had a nationwide platform, a TV program we could influence and shape to express our concerns to he masses. No, everyone blew that chance just because the first 3 episodes were “so unreal.” Now we're trying to do it again and few seem to care.

    It boils down to this. If you've got the bare minimum license and run 3 calls a day do you deserve the same salary as someone with an associate's degree running 20 runs a shift? And who do you want to enforce that?
    I've found that many of the same folks demanding someone do something to raise their pay are the first to complain when another agency does the same thing.

    Sorry to rant in your comments CK, feel free to delete if inappropriate.
    HM

  • http://thehappymedic.com the Happy Medic

    Mr Clemans, any chance of resurrecting the EMS 2.0 Foundation you founded a while back?

  • http://twitter.com/jeffmedic Jeff Anderson

    HM- I wouldn't call your previous post a rant, you make some great points. I intend to answer several of them but I'd like to ponder about this more first. I too wish we hadn't rejected the recent TV show so quickly. Hopefully “Chronlicles of EMS” will make up for that.

    One question I have for anyone is how should we define an adequate wage? I don't think we can base this on whether we feel like we are paid enough. There has to be some standard to shoot for. Do we want to be average or above average for the community we work in? Do we want to have parity with other professions such as nursing, law enforcement or fire? As I try to answer these questions myself, things get very complicated.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffmedic Jeff Anderson

    HM- I wouldn't call your previous post a rant, you make some great points. I intend to answer several of them but I'd like to ponder about this more first. I too wish we hadn't rejected the recent TV show so quickly. Hopefully “Chronlicles of EMS” will make up for that.

    One question I have for anyone is how should we define an adequate wage? I don't think we can base this on whether we feel like we are paid enough. There has to be some standard to shoot for. Do we want to be average or above average for the community we work in? Do we want to have parity with other professions such as nursing, law enforcement or fire? As I try to answer these questions myself, things get very complicated.

  • CBEMT

    Nursing got their pay rates through education. So did Respiratory Therapy and even X-ray techs.

    But for some reason, EMS thinks it's special, and should just be handed pay parity without “all that book larnin'.”

  • CBEMT

    Nursing got their pay rates through education. So did Respiratory Therapy and even X-ray techs.

    But for some reason, EMS thinks it's special, and should just be handed pay parity without “all that book larnin'.”

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  • medic1518

    I just have to say this -

    Identify the problem, we are the problem! For years, no decades, EMS has GIVEN their service away for free. We make it feel better by calling ourselves “volunteers”. We are the like the date that will sleep with you without a the ring on the finger or any other commitment. The public at whole then says, “Well why would we pay for you, you give it away for nothing!” The cops wised up years ago, like I say, when is the last time your local PD held a bake sale to buy a squad car? Then there is the human emotional said when a community members holds up a sick or dying relative and says,”you won't come and help unless I pay you! How heartless are you, you animal!” So we go and we help and there you have it, something for nothing again. We have de-valued ourselves. You can't charge one community hundreds of thousands of dollars for staffing when the neighboring community gets it for free!! We all need to be on the same page.

  • totwotytr

    Justin, there is no shortage of paramedics or EMTs. There is a shortage of paramedics willing to work for the crappy pay, tough working conditions, and non existent benefits most services offer.

    Jeff Anderson, sorry but your suggestion is just dumb. Making it harder to become an EMT or paramedic is not going to magically result in an increase in pay and benefits. It's going to result in a lot of people with large debt loads and not one penny more in salary.

    Employers pay crappy wages because they can. There are endless diploma mills turning out new young EMTs and paramedics in endless numbers. That's not going to change in the near future, if it ever does.

    Then again, there is no real occupation called “EMS”. Given 50+ models of delivery in the US and Canada, EMS is a skill set employed by a variety of occupations as part of their work. Between CK, AD, HM, and me, there are at least three, maybe four, different EMS delivery models. HM and I are at the top of the pay scale in our areas, of that I'm certain. I don't know about AD, but from reading CK's posts, it doesn't seem as if he is.

    When you talk about upgrading the profession or improving benefits, who exactly are you talking about? Is it me, HM, AD, or CK? Or all of us? None of us work for the same type of employer, so how is possible to have one solution to the problem of pay and benefits?

    Until the unlikely event of having only one or two EMS delivery models happens, there isn't much chance of fixing any of the other problems.

  • http://twitter.com/firehat firehat

    I see some volly bashing up above but at the same time some are aspiring to the level of pay and respect the FD gets. Yet a much higher percentage of firefighters than medics are volunteers. That argument, as when the IAFF makes it, doesn't hold water.

    As I posted in the first thread on the other post, EMS neither has the organization and depth of expertise as the fire service nor the academic qualifications of nursing. Further, EMS is run largely on a more or less “for-profit” basis in a very high percentage of jurisdictions. That means efficiency is valued above effectiveness. These two points: lack of a compelling reason to pay more and a prevalent business model that is antipathetic to proper emergency services delivery.

  • http://twitter.com/firehat firehat

    I see some volly bashing up above but at the same time some are aspiring to the level of pay and respect the FD gets. Yet a much higher percentage of firefighters than medics are volunteers. That argument, as when the IAFF makes it, doesn't hold water.

    As I posted in the first thread on the other post, EMS neither has the organization and depth of expertise as the fire service nor the academic qualifications of nursing. Further, EMS is run largely on a more or less “for-profit” basis in a very high percentage of jurisdictions. That means efficiency is valued above effectiveness. These two points: lack of a compelling reason to pay more and a prevalent business model that is antipathetic to proper emergency services delivery.

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  • MNChief

    One way to look at is to really analyze it from a market perspective of supply and demand. Stand alone EMS, like fire, has a surplus of people willing to do the job. EMS has maintained low pay because even though the education requirements have increased they (EMS workers) haven't been able to leverage that into higher pay.

    So if you have a surplus of a resource, you're going to have a price decrease because supply exceeds demand. One way to change this is to erect or increase barriers to entry. That's what you see in other professions, increased licensing requirements, increased educational requirements, etc. Heck, I've seen some states that are now licensing people that paint fingernails. It's all about attempting to control the supply and it's as old as the Medieval Guilds.

    The MN Legislature passed a bill last year that requires career firefighters to be licensed by the MN State Fire Certification Board. What do they have to do to obtain licensure? Nothing, everyone currently working is grandfathered in. New hires simply have to have FFII and HazMat Ops certification. The big fight between the state chiefs and the IAFF was to allow volunteers/POC to obtain the same licensure if they so desire.

  • MNChief

    One way to look at is to really analyze it from a market perspective of supply and demand. Stand alone EMS, like fire, has a surplus of people willing to do the job. EMS has maintained low pay because even though the education requirements have increased they (EMS workers) haven't been able to leverage that into higher pay.

    So if you have a surplus of a resource, you're going to have a price decrease because supply exceeds demand. One way to change this is to erect or increase barriers to entry. That's what you see in other professions, increased licensing requirements, increased educational requirements, etc. Heck, I've seen some states that are now licensing people that paint fingernails. It's all about attempting to control the supply and it's as old as the Medieval Guilds.

    The MN Legislature passed a bill last year that requires career firefighters to be licensed by the MN State Fire Certification Board. What do they have to do to obtain licensure? Nothing, everyone currently working is grandfathered in. New hires simply have to have FFII and HazMat Ops certification. The big fight between the state chiefs and the IAFF was to allow volunteers/POC to obtain the same licensure if they so desire.

  • Frank the Medic

    I laugh at the guy who said “I reject the Supply and Demand argument..” You can reject whatever you want but it doesn't mean you're right!! Suppy and demand is 100% a factor in why WE get paid crappy wages and do you want to know the other reason?? EMS for the most part is run by private FOR PROFIT companies. Now let's get reeaallly simple here for a moment…if I open a McDonalds am I going to “grow a conscience” and start paying my entire staff $15 an hour each because they deserve it??? Of course not!!! Everything is considered when watching the bottom line including PAYROLL..Hello??? How do you think a company maintains profitability?? Especially in a crappy economy…by keeping cost as low as possible. By taking the job at $9/hour, you are telling me that that is all I need to offer people…And, if you don't take the job out of protest, guess what?? Someone else will…Supply and Demand..It is really quite simple. By the way, Education does have a direct impact on earning..You want to earn more money?? Go to school get a degree and EARN the right to ask for more money like Doctors and Nurses and the other high earners you mentioned.

  • MNChief

    One way to look at is to really analyze it from a market perspective of supply and demand. Stand alone EMS, like fire, has a surplus of people willing to do the job. EMS has maintained low pay because even though the education requirements have increased they (EMS workers) haven't been able to leverage that into higher pay.

    So if you have a surplus of a resource, you're going to have a price decrease because supply exceeds demand. One way to change this is to erect or increase barriers to entry. That's what you see in other professions, increased licensing requirements, increased educational requirements, etc. Heck, I've seen some states that are now licensing people that paint fingernails. It's all about attempting to control the supply and it's as old as the Medieval Guilds.

    The MN Legislature passed a bill last year that requires career firefighters to be licensed by the MN State Fire Certification Board. What do they have to do to obtain licensure? Nothing, everyone currently working is grandfathered in. New hires simply have to have FFII and HazMat Ops certification. The big fight between the state chiefs and the IAFF was to allow volunteers/POC to obtain the same licensure if they so desire.

  • Frank the Medic

    I laugh at the guy who said “I reject the Supply and Demand argument..” You can reject whatever you want but it doesn't mean you're right!! Suppy and demand is 100% a factor in why WE get paid crappy wages and do you want to know the other reason?? EMS for the most part is run by private FOR PROFIT companies. Now let's get reeaallly simple here for a moment…if I open a McDonalds am I going to “grow a conscience” and start paying my entire staff $15 an hour each because they deserve it??? Of course not!!! Everything is considered when watching the bottom line including PAYROLL..Hello??? How do you think a company maintains profitability?? Especially in a crappy economy…by keeping cost as low as possible. By taking the job at $9/hour, you are telling me that that is all I need to offer people…And, if you don't take the job out of protest, guess what?? Someone else will…Supply and Demand..It is really quite simple. By the way, Education does have a direct impact on earning..You want to earn more money?? Go to school get a degree and EARN the right to ask for more money like Doctors and Nurses and the other high earners you mentioned.

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  • AubTgrs

    There are quite a few of the people that I used to work with at my rural service in Iowa that had an associate degree in Paramedicine from a college. You know what… They made the same amount of money as me. I even asked them if there were any benefits to getting the degree (I am only one class away and currently in the process of finishing) and they said “the nice little diploma from the college that hangs on my wall”. They tried to get more money… they tried to get hired on at different services to only be told that they are now too experienced and now would cost to much to hire them. So yet again… yes even though it is great to have the degree in Paramedicine, does it really get us anywhere but a good feeling and knowing that we are truely trying to be the best Paramedic that someone can buy? I am doing it cause I want to be the best and if I called for the ambulance for my family member… I want the best! I know medics that I would trust my life with and have previously squeeked by in High School or even dropped out and just got their GED. Does this mean that they are a subpar Medic? Heck no! Just because you went and got more letters behind your name or you took an extra class won't alway make a difference. Will it make me think less or more of you? Not always. I might become impressed if you somehow made a PhD in it. Right now as it goes the only way of advancement in our field is to become a supervisor… And how exactly is that compensated? With 100% more headaches and usually just an extra 10 to 20 cents more an hour. Oh but don't forget that you usually will have to work EVERY single special event. And guess what, usually if you are like most places around here, you are salary, so guess what, you aren't getting squat!
    Also I would like to point out that while I had a chance to learn about EMS in other states I am disappointed in the fact that not every state has an ACTIVE EMS association. I was part of IEMSA which is active in the fact that I was constantly asked to attend their yearly EMS conference and make phone calls or write letters the my congressmen reguarding EMS concerns and bills. Heck even our county had an EMS association in order to facilitate quality care. Us as volunteers worked side by side with career Firefighters, Medics, RNs, Flight Crews, and even our Medical Director and ER Managers. We worked on updating protocols and ideas on how to become more progressive. I have since seen that the state of Indiana has almost nothing. I have searched and searched for an EMS association and have come up with nothing. If someone is knowledgable in this field I would love it. I miss being active.
    As for people not being aware of our profession… I understand that we are a young profession and that we will probably have to fight tooth and nail for everything that we want. I would assume that nursing probably started the same way. I can't imagine that Florence Nightengail started off with the thinking that she was going to be anything more than a compassionate soul with a few caring tricks up her sleeve. We need to evolve. Look at the history of some medical professions and how they grew and let us follow in their footsteps. There is nothing wrong with imitating and emulating a profession that is sucessful and where we would like to be. I agree that it would be nice to be instantly respected and reguarded as equals, but I think that as with anything unfortunately we need patience and the intelligence to know when and who to pick our battles with.

  • sammy30

    Just so you know, paramedics aren't handed anything!!! A degree paramedic has the same degree and if not the same amount more semester/clinical/intern hours than ans AS nursing and resp. therapist. Paramedic are also stand alone caregivers that make decisions based on field triage. We don't have to get orders for advanced procedures, and we do many skills that nurses are allowed to do. You shoud really research you facts!!!

  • sammy30

    I am a paramedic, and have a AS in paramedicine. It wasn't even a two dollar raise from being a basic. I don't make emough money WITH my degree to pay back my student loans…Good Luck with your dergee! Maybe you can find someone who will pay you for your advance knowledge, but I wouldn't hold my breath!!!

  • CBEMT

    “A degree paramedic has the same degree and if not the same amount more semester/clinical/intern hours than ans AS nursing and resp.”

    Bet you can't prove it.

    “and we do many skills that nurses are allowed to do. “

    You're a perfect example of an EMS provider that judges medical worth by skills instead of knowledge. Which is why we aren't going anywhere.

    “You shoud really research you facts!!!”

    Me? Really?

  • Bryce

    I think that some of the low wages have to do with the waste in the system which there is a lot of. For example in SLC a person calls 911 and an ALS ambulance and ALS fire unit both respond. The patient is treated and transported. The ambulance then bills the PT and is paid X amount that is set by the state and then even less if it is a medicare PT. The Fire department then bills the ambulance company for their help. Now the ambulance company is in a position where they can't make money(which is why Southwest just bailed). If the company can't make money now how can they afford to pay more? Now contrast that a system about 2 hours to the east(with less then 1/4 the call volume) where a person calls 911 and an ALS ambulance responds and treats and transports the patient with fire only responding to calls where they are actually needed. This service to the east pays there EMTs $1 more per hour then a Paramedic makes in SLC. Why waste the money with a dual ALS responce? When you need a fireman you need one, but when you just need an ambulance there is no reason to waste the money to send a fire truck. That money is better served staying with the ambulance company(or if the ambulance is run by Fire then going back into EMS instead of the new ladder truck) so they can afford to keep running and maybe actually pay their people for the job they do. Fire needs to stop using EMS as a funding source and way to justify more firemen and the two need to be kept seperate even if run under the same county or city government out of the same building. Fire clearly isn't the only thing sucking funding from EMS but its a good example. We need to take a serious look at everything about our services and cut out the unnessessary waste so that that money can go to the EMTs and Medics that deserve it. If you sit back and look at it there is a ton of cash that goes to unnessessary things in every city and service.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  • henrylow

    There's a movement to radically change California government, by getting rid of career politicians and chopping their salaries in half. A group known as Citizens for California Reform wants to make the California legislature a part time time job, just like it was until 1966.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

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Chris Kaiser aka "Ckemtp"

I am a paramedic trying to advance the idea that the Emergency Medical Services can be made into the profession that we all want it, need it, and know it deserves to be.

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  • Comments
    Ianto Jones
    The Natural Alignment Movement – Freedom of Choice from the Orthopedic Conspiracy
    Oh, dear G-d. This was hilarious, but I'm fighting not to find it dangerous as well -- someone's gonna share it on FB, and one of _their_ friends is going to send it to Bright Star MorningGlory Rainbow, who will send it to her YahooGroup, and someone there will reply that he *thinks* he broke…
    2014-11-18 09:54:00
    Thad Torix
    Patient Friendly Jokes
    Have you heard my construction joke? I'm still working on it.... (Credit to my youngest daughter for that one. My partners are absolutely sick of hearing that joke...) On another note, what a fantastic blog. If you are ever in SW Missouri, stop by and say hello. Thad Torix - EMS Instructor & Clinical Coordinator…
    2014-11-03 18:27:00
    mr618
    Welcome to the Club
    Well said, Chris. We can't save everybody, but the ones we don't save tend to stick around a lot longer than the ones we do save.
    2014-10-18 14:40:00
    Steel City Medic
    Welcome to the Club
    Particularly appropriate for me this week. Thanks.
    2014-09-23 21:46:00
    DiverMedic
    Welcome to the Club
    Very well done, Chris.
    2014-09-17 22:15:00

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