'...A better way to take care of our people.' Rutherford Co. EMS moves to 24/72 shifts

Rutherford Co EMS.jpg
Posted at 8:40 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 23:55:12-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WTVF) — Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services (RCEMS) recently made the decision to change to shifts of 24 hours on and 72 hours off for Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMTS) and Paramedics.

Currently, employees work shifts of 24-hour on/48-hour off.

Carl Hudgens, director of the Rutherford County EMS, says it wasn't too long ago when he remembered how tough it was to be a paramedic.

"I'm noticing how tired our paramedics are and so I pulled in some members of my staff, and basically put them in his office and said, 'We're not going to leave until we figure out a better way to take care of our people.'"

Hudgens says he could tell in his employees it was a time for a change.

"We have come up with the idea of a 24/72-hour shift. Because it's extremely important to me that our paramedics are rested when they come into work," Hudgens said.

The department is hoping to implement the change in mid-September.

"If that is something that I can do for our paramedics I think everybody benefits from it; our patients, which our citizens benefit from it. And the paramedics benefit from it because family's important to them just like it is to everybody else. "

Hudgens says he hopes it can also bring in some new recruits - the department needs several EMS workers.

County Commissioners voted to move to the shift change effective July 1.

County Mayor Bill Ketron’s request to give employees a four percent pay increase was also approved. RCEMS employees, if eligible, could receive up to a 5.75 percent pay increase.

"I'm hoping in the EMS profession that this will be an attraction for them to want to come and work for one the best EMS systems in the state. "

After coming out of a stressful year because of the pandemic, Hudgens says it’s important the paramedics come into work every day knowing they too are being taken care of.

He says 80 percent of staff surveyed support the new shift change.

"We need to take care of our employees so they can take care of our citizens. 28 And that's exactly what this is about," said Hudgens.

The department recently issued a recruitment video in an effort to attract new candidates as well.

There are several AEMT and Paramedic position openings. To find out more, click here.