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Ohio EMS welcomes Australian paramedics in creative solution to staffing shortages

In a new work visa program, Spirit EMS was able to reach halfway around the world for paramedic recruitment


Spirit EMS’s new Australian Paramedics (L-R) Hugh Walton, Karl Kleinekathoefer and Phoenix Waters.

Spirit EMS

By Bill Carey

GREENVILLE, Ohio — Spirit EMS in Greenville has become creative in finding a solution to staffing challenges by joining a few EMS organizations in the country to create a new work visa program.

Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway welcomed three Australian Paramedics to Spirit’s workforce. After partnering with an EMS recruiting firm, three Australian paramedics have moved halfway around the world to help address the EMS workforce shortage.

“Since COVID, like almost every other EMS organization in the nation, Spirit EMS has struggled to have a sufficient number of paramedics to meet our daily needs,” Hathaway stated.

Hathaway stated that in Australia, more paramedics are graduating from classes than paramedic jobs available.

“Australian paramedics are eager to get the experience they set out for when they obtained their bachelor’s degree in paramedicine,” Hataway said. “Therefore, bringing them to the United States allows them to get the experience they are looking to achieve and allows us, as an organization, to fill an unmet need. It’s a win-win, any way you look at it.”

Australian paramedics still have to pass national and state EMS training requirements before caring for patients. Hathaway said the Australian recruitment company worked with an accredited EMS school in the United States to ensure that all of the required credentialing requirements were met. Spirit EMS worked to make sure the Australians had housing and transportation available upon arriving.

Spirit EMS Welcomes Australian Paramedics - Photo 3.JPG

Spirit EMS welcomes three Australian Paramedics (L-R) Operations Manager Brian Brown, Director of Human Resources Ted Bruner, Director of Employee Relations Carie Pope, Phoenix Waters, Hugh Walton, Kurt Kleinekathoefer, and Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway.

Spirit EMS