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Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Nov;18(11):1151-6.

A follow-up report of occupational stress in urban EMT-paramedics.

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Department of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.


A survey completed by 280 nonvolunteer, urban emergency medicine technician (EMT)-paramedics revealed high levels of occupational stress. We used a four-component model of occupational stress in medical environments to show indications that much variation in the manifestation of stress was accounted for by the rank and job description of the EMT-paramedic, the district served by the EMT-paramedic, and the patient population served by the EMT-paramedic. Stress exhibited by field EMT-paramedics tended to manifest in more negative attitudes toward patients, whereas administrative-level paramedics exhibited more organizational stress. We noted that the age of the EMT-paramedic and the length of time employed as an EMT-paramedic correlated with the level of occupational stress (P less than .05). The recent occurrence of significant life events also was significantly related to the level of stress (P less than .05). An EMT-paramedic's gender, marital status, and number of calls per shift had no significant correlation to the level of occupational stress. Based on these results, we recommend tailoring occupational stress programs to meet the needs of individual EMT-paramedics. Special attempts should be made to identify and counsel EMT-paramedics who are undergoing stressful life events. Finally, we suggest that rotating EMT-paramedics through various districts on a regular basis may help alleviate the negative impact on patient care in areas that have been identified as particularly stressful. Further studies are needed to verify our hypothesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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