Acadian Ambulance on track to fill vacancies
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Staffing shortages for emergency first responders still have not gotten to where they were prior to the pandemic, and professionals in the Baton Rouge area are still trying to recover.
“There’s more leaving because of a multitude of reasons,” said Acadian operations manager Justin Cox. “Since COVID, it pretty much decimated everybody’s staff, and we’re trying to bring it back up to what it was pre-COVID.”
Luckily, Cox said they’re on track. Back in February, when it came to EMR’s, EMT’s, and paramedics, the company was about 60 short. Today, they’re telling a different story. Pretty much all of the EMR and EMT positions have been filled.
“The only thing we’re at now is the 27 paramedic openings that we’re working on right now,” said Cox.
Acadian points to their Accelerated EMT Program as their reason for success. The program takes four months’ worth of material and condenses it into a seven to eight-week course. Students are paid full salaries and given benefits while they complete their coursework. The program makes it easier for someone like Katelyn Dagle to juggle life as a mom and a wife while also achieving her goals.
“It was harder than I thought it would be but very satisfying when you get the test results saying that you passed,” said Dagle.
She has already passed her national registry and is doing her paramedic orientation. Dagle said the hardest part was the time she spent away from her family, but the flexibility of the course made it doable.
“That was a huge thing, because I was gonna go to nursing school previously. But trying to balance home life, school life, and work life was a big problem so to speak. Whenever they told me it was gonna be paid for, and they were gonna pay me, that kind of sealed the deal,” Katelyn added.
Acadian said between Monday, Oct. 3, and next Spring, they’re on track to have 24 of the 27 paramedic vacancies filled.
Baton Rouge EMS said they’re doing better on average compared to the rest of the country but are still about 12 paramedics short. However, they did just recently expand.
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