EMS Workforce for the 21st Century: A National Assessment


Susan A. Chapman, Vanessa Lindler, Jennifer Kaiser, Christine Nielsen, Tim Bates, Laurie Hailer-O'Keefe

Jun. 13, 2008

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are a critical component of any community’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system. Assuring the continued viability of the prehospital EMS workforce is a key concern for many local, State, Federal, and tribal EMS agencies, as well as national EMS organizations. As a first step in systematically addressing the issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in partnership with the Health Re-sources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Emergency Medical Services for Children pro-gram, supported a research project led by the Center for the Health Professions and School of Nursing at the University of California San Francisco with assistance from the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington. The intent of this research is to provide guidance to the national EMS community in ensuring a viable EMS workforce for the future.

The major objective of this research has been to address issues relevant to the process of workforce planning. Research questions address the following:

1. Will the EMS workforce be of adequate size and composition to meet the needs of the
U.S. population in the future?

2. How can potential workers be attracted to and encouraged to stay in the field of EMS?

3. How can adequate EMS workforce resources be available across all populations and geo-graphic areas?

4. Do we have the data and information needed to address the future demand for and supply of EMTs and paramedics in the United States? What information is lacking and how might it be obtained?

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