Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper
Chapter 8: Acute and Chronic Workplace Stress in Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
Janice Halpern and Robert G. Maunder A NEW PROFESSION Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are ambulatory first responders who provide medical care in a very wide range of circumstances. The conditions of their patients range from minor injuries and exacerbations of chronic disease to lifethreatening illness and severe trauma. They respond to a wide variety of calls, from routine transport, to emergencies, and, less frequently, to full-fledged disasters. The job of the EMT or paramedic is to assess and treat the patient, as well as transport him or her to a hospital emergency department. As providers of pre-hospital emergency care, they function at the interface of healthcare and emergency response, which means that their job has similarities to emergency room physicians and nurses on the one hand, and police officers and firefighters on the other. The level of care a practitioner can offer depends on his or her level of training, which may range from providing basic life support to providing highly specialized care within a critical care transport team. Paramedics with advanced training may also serve in specialized teams such as combined paramedic– police units, search and rescue units, or helicopter transport. In some jurisdictions, only EMTs with advanced training are referred to as paramedics, while in other jurisdictions all trained and accredited EMT practitioners are entitled to use that designation. In this chapter, we shall refer generally to EMT/paramedics, except in the case of our own studies, in which the subjects were only paramedics and supervisors. This...
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