An exploration of violence against paramedics, burnout and post-traumatic symptoms in two Australian ambulance services

Wongtongkam, Nualnong (2017) An exploration of violence against paramedics, burnout and post-traumatic symptoms in two Australian ambulance services. International Journal of Emergency Services, 6 (2). pp. 134-146.

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Abstract

Purpose: Violence directed at ambulance paramedics has attracted increasing public attention because of its major negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of victims and productivity of organisations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of violent incidents, contributing factors, burnout and post-traumatic symptoms among paramedics.

Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional survey was distributed in two ambulance services in Tasmania and South Australia, with self-administered instruments completed online. In total, 48 respondents completed questionnaires.

Findings: There were no significant differences between sites in timing of violent incidents, consequences of traumatic events or organisation provision. Surprisingly, over 90 per cent of paramedics had not been pushed, slapped, beaten, scratched or spat on in the previous month. There was a statistically significant difference between genders for being yelled at or verbally abused (p=0.02). When considering burnout, female paramedics showed significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion t(37)=–2.32, p=0.02 and lower levels of career satisfaction than their male counterparts, t(37)=3.32, p=0.00.

Originality/value: Although prevalence rates of violent incidents seemed lower than expected, policy interventions to encourage female paramedics to display their professional identities and steps to enhance well-being and safety while on duty should be considered.

Item ID: 62301
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2047-0908
Keywords: Australia, Burnout, Paramedics, Post-traumatic symptoms, Violence
Copyright Information: © Emerald Publishing Limited.
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 01:31
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1602 Criminology > 160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime @ 30%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 50%
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