JEMS Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Interesting commentary from Dr. Bledsoe…
Many of us, when asked if there is a paramedic ‘shortage’ have difficulty answering the question. The reason? By definition, to express a shortage of anything, we first need to know the answer to the question “How many do we need?” Once we have the answer to that question, then we might be able to determine if there is a shortage.
Some systems have an overabundance of paramedics, while others struggle to recruit and retain paramedics. So, you could say we have a paramedic mal-distribution?
Dr. Bledsoe asks the tough questions…
The Paramedic Shortage — Opportunity or Crisis?
By Bryan Bledsoe, DO, FACEP, FAAEM, EMT-P | 9.24.19
There has been a great deal discussion, of late, related to a shortage of paramedics in the United States. It is often debated, and there are deniers, as well as believers. However, the data are clear in that fewer people are entering EMS when compared to a decade or two ago. The reasons are debatable but include such things as poor pay, working conditions, schedules, work type, and cultural changes in younger individuals and their belief systems. Many lament this but it may actually be the opportunity needed to drive EMS to the next level.
At a most fundamental level, the term “shortage” refers to a state or condition where something needed cannot be attained in sufficient amounts. From a business standpoint, it is the difference between supply and demand. A shortage can be rectified by increasing the supply of the necessary product. It can also be rectified by decreasing demand for that product. This is the basis of this discussion.