My Dilemma About Part Time Paramedic-ing

It’s been just over since I went on my last call as a paramedic and began teaching full time.  I love teaching, and the deeper I get into it the more I am sure the move was the right decision.  I also do not miss the lifestyle of rotating shifts and missing family events.  My friends comment about how much better I look now that I don’t work at night, and I have much more energy.

But I do miss the patient care. As I wrote in my last post, Earning a Spot in the Pit, I spend one or two days a week in the hospital precepting my paramedic students.  It is my favorite part of the work week, but is also a weekly reminder of how much I miss the truck. I miss the one-on-one connection we get to make with patients, the critical thinking, skill performance, and helping relieve pain.  I’ve gone back and forth about working part-time somewhere for the past few months, but keep getting stuck on the time commitment.

Until a year ago I had worked on a two day, two night, four day off rotation for ten years.  Before that I worked two 24-shifts a week.  Now I work Monday through Friday with “normal” work hours, which is something I have never done before.  I am not complaining about having fewer days off each week, and would not choose to go back to a rotating schedule.   It is just less time off than I am used to.  Since I would not work a night shift anywhere before teaching, that leaves the weekends for me to play paramedic.

The service I left only has full time employees, but there are a half dozen or so smaller services that have part-time paramedics within commuting distance. I have called a few, and most require a 16-24 hour a month commitment.  In understand that they make an investment in hiring, orienting, and issuing uniforms, so it is reasonable to expect a return on it in hours.  It is also important to stay familiar with equipment, SOP’s, and the coverage area.  It seems like a lot of time to sacrifice on the weekends though.  I treasure the time with my family on the weekends, and my children seem to be growing up so fast.  We also have a lot of out-of-town family, and it would be hard to squeeze in shifts between travel and visits. A part time job would also take time away from my non-EMS hobbies, which I wish I had more time to do now.  Then there are the courses and conferences that I would like to attend, which would be even more weekends of EMS activities.

But I do miss the truck.  Becoming a paramedic was childhood dream, and I worked very hard to develop my craft.  While I enjoy sharing these things as an educator, I feel a void with not doing it anymore.  So there’s my dilemma.  I want to work on a truck once in a while, but I am afraid it would tip the work-life balance in the wrong direction.





  1. Imagine sitting in the back of the ambulance on Saturday night. The fourth or eighth or twentieth Saturday in a row you have worked on the ambulance after working at the college Monday through Friday.

    Then in this sentence replace “patients” with either “wife” or “kids”

    “I miss the one-on-one connection we get to make with patients”

  2. It’s the same here. It’d be great to dabble a bit on the truck for fun, but that can be a hard sell to the folks that hire.

    • emspatientperspective says:

      Thanks Brandon. I don’t blame the services for wanting part-timers to work regularly. Besides patient care, you need to be around enough to become part of the culture. I have learned that bad experiences as the occasional employee or volunteer.

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