This research was funded as a working group with Washington State Labor Research Grant funding from the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. 

Report written by researcher, Pranav Srikanth, PhD student in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences.  

Identifying and addressing factors that contribute to the mental health and quality of life of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and reasons for attrition in the profession can have long-lasting positive impacts, both on EMTs and in other similar occupations. Findings from this study could inform workplace interventions to improve mental health and well-being among EMTs; in particular, targeting concerns regarding pay and access to benefits may be impactful in reducing work-related stress and depression, and increasing retention among EMTs. Identifying and addressing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, such as inadequate PPE, can not only reduce concern of exposure (of COVID-19 and of other transmissible diseases) among EMTs, but can also improve mental health and overall well-being, both during a pandemic and beyond.

Improving EMT health and well-being is important for public health, as EMTs play a vital role in the healthcare system, especially during a pandemic, and attrition of EMTs during a pandemic could impact
public health.

Key Findings:

Mental Health:

  • Financial insecurity was found to be a predictor of high stress and intent to leave the profession
    • Respondents indicated that their current pay and access to benefits were inadequate for their cost of living, with the majority of respondents indicating that they do not believe they are paid a fair wage
  • Working additional jobs, which 65% of EMTs in our study reported needing to do to afford living here, was a predictor of increased depression
  • Higher job demands were a predictor of both increased stress and increased depression

EMT attrition:

  • 23.8% of EMTs indicated being very likely to leave the profession in the next 6 months, with another 35.2% indicating being somewhat likely to leave
    • Manager support was associated with decreased odds of intent to leave, suggesting that those who feel more supported by management are less likely to leave the profession

COVID-19 related concerns:

  • 83.7% of EMT respondents reported being sometimes or often concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work
  • 43.9% of respondents indicated they were not provided with adequate personal protective equipment over the past year
  • 39.0% of EMT respondents felt that they might have had COVID-19 at some point since March 1, 2020

Survey data was collected from 123 EMTs between August 16th, 2021 and September 16th, 2021. Researchers collaborated with Teamsters Local 763, who represent EMTs in the Puget Sound region of Washington. This survey and research resulted in a publication in the Journal of Occupational Environmental and Environmental Medicine. Citation, and link to access is located here. Please reach out to Pranav Srikanth ( and  Bridges Center Associate Faculty member and research grant recipient, Marissa Baker ( with any questions.