Situation Critical: High Demand, Low Control, and Low Support in Paramedic Organizations


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Abstract

Previous research findings have determined that paramedics are among the highest risk professionals for stress, trauma, and burnout. This mixed-methods study involving survey design and qualitative interviews seeks further to understand the factors related to these high levels of occupational stress. Utilizing the demand/control/support model as a framework for analysis, the authors explore how paramedics perceive the psychological and physical demands of their jobs, the degree of control they have at work, and the level of support they receive from coworkers and supervisors. The paramedics in this study perceived their work environment as being high in demand, low in control, and low in support. The results point to the urgent need to consider organizational stressors and the impact that chronically stressful conditions have on workers. Emergency service organizations must find ways to increase supports available to workers and increase the sense that their skills and knowledge are valued and their decisions and opinions are respected.

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