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Rutherford County EMS Moves to 24/72 Shifts for Employees to Promote Better Work-Life Balance

By ASHLEY MCDONALD, Correspondent | July 19, 2021 | TENNESSEE

Story No. 071921122

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services (RCEMS) recently made the decision to change to 24 hours on and 72 hours off shifts for Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians (AEMTS) and Paramedics.

The change is expected to take effect in mid-September.

“We saw an opportunity to step out as one of the first EMS departments in the country to move to this shift with the main goal of providing our employees ample time between shifts to decompress,” said RCEMS Director Carl Hudgens.

“EMS is not a regular 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and never has been, but the previous 24-hour on/48-hour off shifts were not allowing our personnel to effectively balance their work/life responsibilities and time,” said Hudgens. “At RCEMS, our employees and their families are extremely important to us and we want to make sure we’re taking care of our own so that they can be who they need to be when it’s time to go home each day.”

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

“We have some of the best first responders in the state of Tennessee,” said Mayor Ketron. “I happen to think some of the best in the country! We want to ensure that we are providing them with benefits that positively impact their careers and families respectively.”

“We are certainly thankful for Mayor Ketron and our County Commissioners and their support of all public safety personnel,” added Hudgens. “We are also grateful to our Public Safety Committee, chaired by Commissioner Pettus Read, for the assistance in developing our plan.”

With EMS departments all across the country experiencing a shortage of personnel and qualified or even interested applicants, Director Hudgens and RCEMS staff are hoping that this new change, along with the long list of additional benefits, will draw a diverse group of qualified candidates to serve Rutherford County.

“In addition to the upcoming shift change, we provide our personnel with excellent benefits including insurance and retirement, adequate personal time off, and multiple opportunities for advancement,” commented Hudgens. “There are other future progressive changes in the works as well.”

The department recently issued a recruitment video in an effort to attract new candidates as well. View here: https://youtu.be/OUw5VP04fzo.

There are several AEMT and Paramedic position openings. To find out more, visit: hr.rutherfordcountytn.gov.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.