Chapter 1: Understanding the work

Shift work, overtime, and second jobs

The nature of the work and the culture results in limited time away from the pressures of the job, which in turn increases stress.

Shift work and overtime

Research suggests that shift work increases job-related stress and contributes to physical and emotional health problems. Overtime hours, through extended or additional shifts, have similar negative health impacts. In jobs with higher levels of stress as the norm, it’s essential to have “protected time” away from work. Time away is necessary to recover energy and foster resilience.  

Secondary work

The nature of shift work (e.g., rotations of 4 days on and 4 days off) allows paramedics to work more than one job. On their “off” days, many take on secondary EMS jobs, such as teaching, or work unrelated to paramedicine. This is a common aspect of the culture that may also decrease their restorative time away from the job.