Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

Dr. David Palm

Second Committee Member

Dr. Patrik Johansson

Third Committee Member

Tim Wilson


Well-trained and fully staffed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) play a key role in improving the health of the surrounding community through rapid response, on scene care, and transportation to an appropriate facility. EMS is an integral part of the community, vital to limiting the severity of injuries, preventing morbidity, and improving the health of their populations. In order to ensure Emergency Medical Services in Nebraska are able to meet the needs of their populations and continue providing high-level care, an assessment of the State’s EMS workforce was conducted. By completing a workforce assessment, we gained a better understanding of the current workforce to ensure emergency medical services have proper staff and resources in place to provide appropriate care for the community, now, and into the future. A survey was distributed to all EMS agencies in the State to gather data on the workforce that is involved in pre-hospital care. The survey focused on a variety of recruitment, retention, education, and training issues within specific emergency medical services or regions. An analysis of the results found several areas of Nebraska already have an inadequate supply of EMS staff available for hire. The majority of EMS services indicated their ability to function would be impacted due to a lack of an ability to hire qualified providers in the near future, if not already. The reasons for these shortages include time commitment and education requirements for both volunteers and paid providers. Relative low wages contributed to shortages for paid providers and jobs outside of EMS were strong reasons for shortages in volunteer providers. A variety of possible solutions to alleviate these specific problems include recruitment and retention programs, offering education grants for training, hiring bonuses, increased wages, online education, and creating a career path for EMS providers. Long-term strategies include standardizing EMS systems, forging partnerships between EMS and hospitals, and creating community paramedics capable of providing primary care. The results of this workforce assessment, along with possible solutions, will be distributed throughout the EMS agencies, relevant stakeholders, and the Nebraska Legislature to help facilitate conversations about ways to grow and improve our EMS workforce. Conversations between all relevant parties can help to create new strategies and policies to ensure the State of Nebraska has an adequate number of emergency medical personal to provide a high level of pre-hospital care and to decrease the severity of injury and morbidity, to the citizens of our communities.

Included in

Public Health Commons