National Shortage of Paramedics



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The spokesman for the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department says there’s a shortage of first responders for medical emergencies. But apparently, Kansas City isn’t alone; it’s a national issue as well.

It’s an unsettling trend, there’s a national shortage of people trained to help save lives; paramedics.

“It’s a love for taking care of people and their families who are in dire straits sometimes,” said Kim Grubbs, a professor of Emergency Medical Sciences at Johnson County Community College.

He says it’s obvious why someone would want to become a paramedic.

“You enjoy helping people, improving their situation or their day, and a lot of times you go home in the morning feeling good about what you’ve done,” agreed Mike Angrisano, who is studying to become a paramedic.

So why then is the country seeing a shortage in people we need in emergency situations?

“What I think keeps people maybe from entering the job in the first place is a fear of being in those emergency situations and having to make life changing decisions on behalf of someone else,” said Angela Fera, a paramedic and Battalion Chief in Training at Johnson County Med-Act.

She says this fear of having to perform in high pressure situations could be problematic.

“Over the coming years, we’re going to see a bigger increase in the middle aged and elderly population, which just increases the demand for paramedics. So if we don’t change, if we don’t adapt, if we don’t have the training programs to produce the students, then obviously we will encounter a shortage,” said Fera.

Grubbs says the sleep deprivation, long hours, and working in a high stress environment during an emergency could lead to burn-outs.

“It can contribute to a fairly short tenure,” Grubbs said.

But they all agree that once you’re trained appropriately, being a paramedic can be extremely rewarding.

For more information on scholarship programs for paramedics, and a list of places hiring paramedics, CLICK HERE.

“The Mid-America Regional Council Emergency Rescue (MARCER) Joint Paramedic Recruiting Committee’s goal is to increase the pool of paramedic candidates for open positions in the nine county MARCER region.  MARCER offers a $1,000 scholarship to people in (or entering) paramedic programs in this region.”

CLICK HERE for the scholarship website.

“Additionally, MARCER has a list of agencies who hire paramedics and their job postings.”

CLICK HERE for that list.

Johnson County Community College accepts 28 paramedic students per year. The program takes about two and a half years to complete the training.