Exhausted and overworked EMS medics are more likely to struggle on the job and leave their positions sooner than expected. In Austin, Texas, a new plan hopes to offer relief by transitioning workers from 48-hour shifts to a 42-hour week.
Currently, Austin medics work 24 hours straight and then get two days off before repeating the cycle. Many medics reported excessive fatigue during busy 24 hour shifts, which hurt their performance. The new plan will give medics an additional day off for recovery.
An outside consultant made additional recommendations that could be applied using workforce management software. Medics could permanently bid on stations, shifts and partners based on tenure. EMS fatigue rules could be set up as part of staffing assignments. And shift times could be easily altered to better align with human sleep patterns.
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