Kim Kirby, Stephanie Moreland, John Pollard
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 8, Iss. 5, 06 May 2016, pp 252 - 257

There is limited research within the UK investigating the effects of shift work on
paramedics. Paramedics have relatively high rates of sickness levels and there are
links between shift work and health. This study explores UK paramedics' perceptions
of the impact of working shifts.

Methods: Exploratory qualitative research was utilised to investigate the perceptions
of UK paramedics on the impacts of working shifts. Two focus groups were completed
involving 11 paramedics. The transcriptions were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Paramedics described factors associated with working shifts that mirror
research already completed within different occupations: effects on physical health,
fatigue, family life, safety and performance; but paramedics additionally described
factors that are more limited to working in the paramedic profession such as a broader
range of psychological stressors and organisational factors. The theme of psychological
health was a wider theme that went beyond shift work and encompassed the overall
paramedic role and the unique and stressful nature of the work.

Conclusions: This research has allowed an insight into the perceived effects of
shift work on UK paramedics and exposes the challenges paramedics face in their
working environment. There is a suggested link between the relatively high rates of
sickness and the effects of shift work and paramedics' overall working environment.
Further exploration and recognition of the effects of shift work on UK paramedics is

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