Correlates of Intent to Leave Job and Profession for Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics


Susan A. Chapman, Gary Blau, Robert Pred, Andrea Lopez

Jan 2009

Purpose–A very limited number of studies have explored factors related to emergency medical services (EMS) workers leaving their jobs and the profession. This paper aims to investigate the correlates of intent to leave EMS jobs and the profession and compared two types of workers: emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.

Design/methodology/approach–A national sample of 308 EMTs and 625 paramedics responded to a cross‐sectional survey. Independent variables were personal, job related, and work attitudes (job satisfaction). Outcomes were intent to leave job and profession. Analytic methods included factor analysis, t‐tests, correlation, and hierarchical regression.

Findings–Factor analysis identified a five‐item intrinsic job satisfaction measure and a four‐item extrinsic job satisfaction measure across both samples. Contrary to what hypothesis one predicted, paramedics had lower extrinsic job satisfaction than EMTs. There was no difference between these two groups on intrinsic job satisfaction. Consistent with the second hypothesis, after controlling for personal and job‐related perceptions, extrinsic job satisfaction was negatively related to intent to leave job and profession for both EMTs and paramedics. However, intrinsic job satisfaction was negatively related only to intent to leave the profession for paramedics.

Research limitations/implications–Future research efforts might utilize stronger measures and incorporate longitudinal methodologies to further explore the career intention of EMS workers and similar occupational groups.

Originality/value–This paper examines job satisfaction and job and career intentions in a rarely studied occupation that provides critical prehospital emergency care to the population.