Date of Conferral





Public Health


Harold R. Griffin


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate whether there were differences between the preconceived notions of emergency medical technicians and paramedics prior to entering the profession and their notions of the vocation after facing the realities of the job. The contribution of alignment or misalignment to job satisfaction and the intention to leave the profession was also further investigated. This research is important as there currently is a gap in the literature pertaining to the factors affecting career longevity of emergency medical service (EMS) professionals. The degree of fit between individual and occupational characteristics guided this phenomenological study according to Lowman's theoretical model of career assessment and counseling. Study participants (n = 10) were recruited from organizations providing EMS training courses and ambulance service providers in New York State. Data were collected from semistructured interviews and the information was coded into themes. Key findings indicated aligned expectations and experiences of altruism led to satisfaction, physical challenges not considered prior to employment were associated with intent to leave the profession, and a perception of EMS as a transient career. This study's implications for positive social change are that its results will likely aid organizations in developing strategies to retain prehospital service workers, resulting in improved responses to the medical emergencies of communities and improvements in the care provided to society's sick and injured.