There has been limited organizational research applied to EMS, especially in the area of job satisfaction. In the midst of a general shortage of health care workers, effective recruitment and retention of a qualified and satisfied work force is a critical issue. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors and elements in the structure or “design” of the work of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics that can create conditions for high levels of work motivation, satisfaction, and performance.
A modified Job Diagnostic Survey was administered to a cross section of 102 paid and volunteer EMS personnel in Pennsylvania. The relationships between measured job characteristics, experienced psychological states, and job longevity on overall job satisfaction was examined.
Significant positive relationships (p<.05) exist between a number of the job characteristic variables (such as task significance, autonomy, and job feedback) and job satisfaction. Job longevity did not have a significant relationship to job satisfaction. Volunteer EMS personnel experienced higher levels of job satisfaction than did paid providers.
The results indicate that the EMT and paramedic perform complex jobs that have high levels of the characteristics that cause internal work motivation. Methods to increase the amount of these core job characteristics to improve overall job satisfaction are discussed.