Building psychological resilience in the paramedic

Catherine Hayes
Monday, April 2, 2018

Paramedics face the need to be critically introspective, reflective and reflexive every working day. Their work involves not only the functional need to clinically assess, diagnose and manage critically ill and injured members of the public, but also a situated responsiveness to the scenes of severe trauma and death. Few other professions demand such an acute degree of personal and professional resilience; an underpinning education is therefore pivotal to facilitate the development of this resilience to equip and ensure an effective healthcare workforce. For all paramedics, the need to facilitate deconstruction of their experience and meaning-making from constituent aspects of paramedic practice, culture and context is a central element of their capacity for resilience, as well as their psychological ability to recognise and apply coping strategies in their everyday roles. This affective domain learning has been embedded across academic curricula and traditionally taught via methods such as role play, inquiry-based learning, and simulation. The current article presents gamification as another potential methodology for inclusion in undergraduate curricula that can provide the future workforce with transferable skills of reflection and reflexivity in situational responsiveness. LEGO® Serious Play® and narrative storytelling are used to illustrate this discussion; a technique that originates from business and leadership teaching and learning methodologies, but the origins of which lie in the philosophy of social constructionism. An adaptation of Gilbert's Multi-Modal Compassionate Mind Training is used to illustrate how LEGO® Serious Play® might facilitate the construction of affective domain learning for resilience in paramedic practice.

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