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
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.