Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Administration(DPA)


Public Policy and Administration


Steven Matarelli


The decline in the number of lead paramedics at an Indiana fire department has stressed the local emergency medical system (EMS), jeopardized public safety, accelerated personnel burnout, and increased overtime expense. Using Herzberg’s motivation hygiene theory as a guiding lens, this phenomenological study explored the effects of the Indiana fire department’s policies related to lead paramedic job satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to investigate possible hygiene factors, relabeled as workplace satisfaction factors, which led to a decrease in the number of lead paramedics within EMS from 2007–2017. The reduction in lead paramedic numbers led to unanticipated and unbudgeted increases in overtime expenditures that were absorbed through alternative staffing models and budget reallocations. From a purposeful sample of 20 paramedic participants, data were collected through semistructured interviews that included a self-administered workplace satisfaction ranking activity. Following data coding and analysis, thematic analyses indicated that the fire department had failed to meet workplace satisfaction factors of work conditions, policy and administrative practices, and supervision, causing paramedics to not seek, to drop, or to consider dropping lead paramedic designations. This study may lead to positive social change at three levels: (a) organizational, by identifying workplace satisfaction factors that could increase the number of lead paramedics as well as reduce paramedic burnout; (b) community, by decreasing overtime expenditures and improving the standard of staff care; and (c) national, by illustrating for external EMS agencies the benefit of workplace engagement studies when facing similar paramedic workplace dissatisfaction.

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