Leadership and Management

Paramedic prescribing: implementation in practice

Background: In April 2018, legislation was changed to allow paramedics to prescribe independently. There is limited research regarding how paramedics are implementing their prescribing qualification. Policy papers and other literature were largely written before April 2018 and therefore document expectations regarding prescribing paramedics within the healthcare system. Aim: To explore if paramedic prescribing is being practised as expected. This article reports part of a larger study that...

ParaVR: a virtual reality training simulator for paramedic skills maintenance

Background: Virtual reality (VR) technology is emerging as a powerful tool in medical training and has potential benefits for paramedic education. Aim: The aim of this paper is to report the development of ParaVR, which uses VR to maintain paramedics' skills. Methods: Computer scientists at the University of Chester and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) developed ParaVR in four stages: identifying requirements and specifications; alpha version development; beta version...

PTSD in paramedics: history, conceptual issues and psychometric measures

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in paramedics than in the general population because of the stressful and distressing nature of their work. Forms of PTSD associated with chronic stress and repeated trauma are scarcely researched among paramedics. This is striking as this workforce is potentially more likely to be affected by these types of PTSD. Diagnostic processes are still largely based on acute rather than chronic psychological trauma. PTSD diagnosis has been influenced...

The zero point survey and egg-timer model combined for crew management

Managing a complex scene and a critically unwell patient at the same time is a challenge for any paramedic, in terms of both personal preparation and crew resource management. While modern paramedicine requires new solutions to situated challenges, a good starting point is to review existing frameworks to seek ways of maximising the safety of the care delivered by paramedics. This paper provides a synthesis of the theoretical egg-timer model of disparity combined with a practical framework...

Could mindfulness activity improve occupational health in UK paramedics?

Emerging research is supporting the implementation of mindfulness-based strategies for NHS staff. It has been shown that, by spending 10 minutes daily on the activity, health professionals can improve their emotional and cognitive functioning, while reducing work-related rumination. Through an exploratory multi-methods approach, this study sets out to quantify the occupational health levels of paramedics, and establish their appreciation of both their employer's health and wellbeing policy and...

The paramedic profession: disruptive innovation and barriers to further progress

The paramedic profession in the UK evolved from a small number of pilot programmes in the early 1970s that focused on training selected NHS ambulance crews in advanced resuscitation techniques. Similar initiatives occurred almost simultaneously in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This case study focuses primarily on the UK, and England in particular. The purpose of the initiatives described was to address the unmet needs of patients with serious injury and illness. Over the...

Effective clinical feedback provision to ambulance clinicians: a literature review

Background Clinical feedback provision to health professionals is advocated to benefit both clinical development and work engagement. Aim This literature review aims to develop recommendations for effective clinical feedback provision by examining mechanisms that exist specifically for ambulance clinicians. Method: A systematic search of contemporary literature identified 15 research papers and four articles, which were included for review and narrative synthesis. Findings The initial...

Taking a holistic approach to acute mental health crisis

An innovative, collaborative model implemented by a UK ambulance service allows patients presenting with a mental health condition to be promptly assisted by a specialist team comprising a paramedic, mental health nurse and police officer. Initial evidence suggests that greater collaboration between emergency services and mental health trusts benefits patients and services: leading to timely assessments, reductions in patient distress levels, and decreasing emergency department overcrowding...

Prehospital use of the traction splint for suspected mid-shaft femur fractures

Introduction: A retrospective audit of electronic patient care records (ePCRs) highlighted the infrequent use of the traction splint for the management of femur fractures. The aim of this study was to improve the use of the traction splint for patients presenting with a mid-shaft femur fracture in the absence of contraindications, by means of introducing a purpose-designed trauma CPD training course. Methods: An intervention consisting of a simulation-based mandatory trauma CPD training...

The impact of paramedic shift work on the family system: a literature review

Aim: The current review investigates the impacts of paramedic work on the family system. Paramedics are taking time off or leaving through stress, and career decisions could be influenced by this perceived impact. Method: A systematic literature review was conducted and the literature critiqued. Two themes were identified: emotional labour and work-family fit. Results: Paramedics rely on families for emotional support, putting them at risk of vicarious trauma. The historical male coping...

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