George Lombardo, field supervisor, lead field training officer, and paramedic with Superior Mobile Health. He began his career at the young age of 19 as an EMT-basic. He has over 15 years in the pre-hospital industry. Lombardo has held multiple positions as a lead medic on MICU capable ambulances and clinical settings. He came to Superior Mobile Health as a strong clinical provider and leader, which was quickly recognized by management. He was first promoted to FTO, then to field supervisor.
The EMS Trend survey has identified recruitment and retention as top issues impacting the field for years, though staffing challenges have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
We learned recently that turnover rates for paramedics and EMTS increased in 2022 to 20-36%. On average, EMS agencies experience a full staff turnover every 3-4 years and more than one-third of all new hires turnover within their first year of employment.
But on the other side of the equation are the rising stars of EMS – the students, recruits and EMTs who find a passion for prehospital medicine, advance their education and climb the ranks, improving their patient care and their organizations as they climb the ladder.
To better understand what inspires greatness and career longevity in EMS, I interviewed several rising leaders about their career path, their joy in work and their secrets to success. At the end of this article, download insights from these leaders on retention, career advancement and what makes EMS great.
I found many common threads in my conversations with these leaders.
Many – in fact, most – began with an interest in the fire service, but fell in love with prehospital medicine (though many noted EMS is not quite what they expected). Though our panel has found EMS to differ from the television-depicted, back-to-back, time-sensitive, life-or-death ALS calls, the common themes in what has made EMS a satisfying career are excellent recruitment tools. Here’s what our leaders love about EMS:
- The constantly changing, evolving environment of pre-hospital care
- The mentally challenging nature of the work
- The opportunity to bring a little order to a chaotic world
- The level of autonomy and personal responsibility EMS provides
These are the characteristics that should be driving your recruitment campaigns.