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									                                Working with a Preferred EMS Partner Reduces Stress and
                                            Increases Perceived Social Support in Paramedics

                     Melanie T. Stanzer, EMT-B, Fay A. Guarraci, Ph.D., Traci A. Giuliano, Ph.D., Allen Sims, EMT-P
                                                       Southwestern University
Introduction                                          Method                                                          Results                                                                                                     Conclusions
v A job in emergency medical services (EMS) is        Participants and Procedure                                      Four significant findings emerged.                                                                          v Overall, paramedics prefer working with
  associated with high occupational stress.           v One hundred six paramedics (38 women, 68 men;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    paramedic partners versus EMT-B partners.
                                                                                                                      1) Participants expressed an overall preference for working
   Specifically, patient care stress can affect        M age= 35 years, SD= 8.37, Range= 21-58 )                        with a paramedic than with an EMT-Basic partner                                                          v Having a paramedic partner enhances
   overall daily stress of EMTs (Boudreaux,              Years of experience in EMS: M= 11.19, SD= 6.64,                (M= 3.69 vs 3.0/No preference), t(105)= 13.36, p <. 0001.                                                  perceived social support, increases the
   Jones, Mandry, & Brantley, 1996).                     Range= 2-35 years                                                                                                                                                          opportunity to administer ALS care
   High occupational stress has been                    Years of experience as a paramedic: M= 7.58,                1………2………3………4………5                                                                                             simultaneously, and decreases the chance of
   associated with high global psychological             SD= 5.63, Range= .25-24 years                                Strongly                                Somewhat                   No             Somewhat      Strongly      overlooking vital observations.
   distress (Boudreaux, Mandry, & Brantley,              Length of time in current service: M= 6.52, SD= 5.65,
                                                                                                                      Prefer                                  Prefer                 Preference         Prefer        Prefer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  v In addition, working with a preferred partner
                                                                                                                      EMT-B                                   EMT-B                                     Paramedic     Paramedic
   1997).                                                Range= .17-25 years                                                                                                                                                        lowers stress levels.
   High levels of stress can decrease a health
                                                      v Questionnaires were personally distributed to                 2) Preference for a paramedic partner was positively related                                                v Knowing the factors that contribute to
   care provider’s confidence in performing a task                                                                       to participants’ agreement that a paramedic allows for
   (Williams, Dale, Glucksman, & Wellesley,
                                                        paramedics at the Texas EMS conference and to on-                                                                                                                           paramedics’ preference for working with other
                                                        duty paramedics working at various services in the               simultaneously administration of ALS care, r(106)=.29, p
   1997), increase negative attitudes towards                                                                                                                                                                                       paramedics allows management to better
                                                        greater Houston area.                                            < .005, and that a paramedic partner can make vital
   patients (Cydulka, Lyons, Moy, Shay, Hammer,                                                                          observations that participants might have missed,                                                          maximize their resources, to ensure the highest
                                                      v An incentive of $5 and a raffle ticket for an iPOD were                                                                                                                     quality of patient care, and to safeguard the
   & Mathews, 1989), and increase critical errors                                                                        r(106)=.25, p < .011.
                                                        offered.                                                                                                                                                                    well-being of their employees.
   (LeBlanc, Mac Donald, McArthur, King, &
   Lepine, 2005).                                     Questionnaire                                                                                                                                                               v Future studies should investigate the extent to
                                                                                                                      3) As predicted, paramedics who worked a greater
v Social support has been shown to buffer stress      v 5-point Likert scales                                                                                                                                                       which working with a preferred EMS partner
                                                                                                                         percentage of time with the skill level partner they
  (Wills, 1990).                                      v Preference for a Paramedic vs an EMT-B partner                   preferred reported lower stress levels (M= 2.09) than                                                      affects the patient care delivered. Further
   Cohesiveness and support among EMTs and                                                                              those who spent more time with their non-preferred                                                         research should also make distinctions to
                                                         (1= Strongly Prefer EMT-B, 3= No preference,            5=
   positive supervisor interactions result in lower                                                                      partners (M= 2.30), t(86)=2.27, p < .03.                                                                   determine which system is better depending on
                                                         Strongly Prefer Paramedic)
   work related stress scores (Revicki & Gershon,                                                                                                                                                                                   the call-volume of the service.
                                                         6 questions asked participants to rate who they would                                                Paramedics Who Spend More Time Working with
   1996).                                                prefer in each of the following scenarios:                                                             Preferred Partner Report Lower Stress Levels

                                                            •To feel more confident, to work more efficiently,
                                                            decrease time on scene, to decrease time to                                                 2.4                                                                       Acknowledgements

                                                                                                                                 Average Stress Level
                                                            intervention, on an ALS call, & on a BLS call                                               2.3

                                                         Potential reasons for partner preferences (8                                                  2.2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  v We would like to thank Cypress Creek EMS for
v EMS often question whether 2- or 1- paramedic                                                                                                                              *
  staffed ambulances are better; however, one                                                                                                           2.1
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    their support, Southwestern University for the
  neglected issue is who paramedics prefer to         v Perceived general stress during the last month (26                                               2                                                                          use of their facilities, and the Journal of
                                                        items adapted from Williams, Dale, Glucksman, &                                                                                                                             Emergency Medical Services for their financial
  work with (paramedic or EMT-B partner).                                                                                                               1.9
                                                        Wellesley, 1997; = .89)                                                                                     Preferred Partner        Non-Preferred Partner
v The current study sought to determine if
                                                      v Perceived social support (14 items adapted from
  paramedics prefer to work with a paramedic or
                                                        Bartram, Joiner, & Stanton, 2004; = .85)
  an EMT-Basic partner.                                                                                               4) The more time paramedics reported working with
                                                      v Background, Work Environment, & Experience
v In addition, we investigated whether                                                                                   paramedic partners (M= 55.28) versus EMT-B partners
  paramedics’ partner preference is related to            Age, gender, years of experience, % of time spent             (M= 27.58), the more social support they perceived,
                                                         working with paramedic and EMT-Basic partners                   r(99)=.36, p < .0001.
  social support and to perceived general stress.
v We predicted that paramedics working with their     v Open-ended partner preference question asking the
                                                        participant to describe in more detail their preference or
  preferred EMS partner experience increased
                                                        indifference for a paramedic partner versus an EMT-B
  social support, which buffers effects of stress,      partner.
  and consequently would improve performance.

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