According to 24.hu, the National Ambulance Service (Országos Mentőszolgálat, OMSZ) of Hungary believes that re-educating employees is going to solve the problems surrounding the lack of specialists. Ambulance drivers are already required to help during rescues. Now they are asked to pay for and enrol in nurse training programs so they can modify their employment contracts.
This all started when the National Ambulance Services promised higher salaries to those drivers who completed vocational training in nursing education. You can read more about the ambulance workers’ protests for higher wages here. At the time of this promise, the OMSZ said that the drivers’ duties would not change. Somehow they overlooked the fact that they cannot change the pay grades unless the employees decide to modify their contract. Meaning that it does not matter that they have a new OKJ qualification unless they agree to be listed as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) too, not just drivers.
Of course if they are listed as EMTs, the drivers would be required to work at least one 12-hour shift every month performing nursing duties.
Many ambulance drivers are afraid that because of the lack of hospital workers, the drivers with OKJ qualification will be forced to work more as nurses. In this case, they would feel that they do not have the experience they would require to do this job confidently.
Zsolt Kusper, the president of the Hungarian Ambulance Workers’ Federation, says that the minimum 12-hour nurse shift is completely unnecessary if the only goal is to increase the salary of the more educated drivers. The only thing that the law states is that EMTs must have an emergency nurse certificate. The 12-hour shift is a stipulation of the OMSZ.
If the ambulance drivers accept this new status, the OMSZ will be able to list the same person as both a driver and as an emergency nurse. This would mean an improvement in the figures, without having to employ new people.
Zsolt Kusper agrees that the extra education could prove useful. Ambulance drivers are not only responsible for getting the car safely to the hospital, but they are also required to assist the patients. The OKJ qualification could make them better at their job. Although driving an ambulance in rush hour traffic is not a small feat either: watch this video to see what they face when their only job is driving.
The Ambulance Workers’ Federation is trying to work together with the OMSZ, so they cannot force the ambulance workers, whose primary job is to be a driver, to do 12-hour nursing shifts.
Pál Győrfi, communication and PR director of the Hungarian National Ambulance Service says that they are not forcing the drivers to provide nursing duties, but it is in their best interest to do so, if they want to move from salary category D to E.
Featured image: facebook/Országos Mentőszolgálat