• A qualitative investigation into paramedics' thoughts about the introduction of national early warning scores

      McClelland, Graham; Haworth, Daniel (2016-09)
      Background The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) is a simple, rapid assessment tool developed by the Royal College of Physicians to standardise the assessment and monitoring of acutely ill patients and facilitate communication across settings. Ambulance Service introduced NEWS in 2013/14. Previous work in this area showed that paramedics were not using NEWS in practice so this study explored the reasons why and how paramedics use, or don’t use, NEWS in practice. Methods Qualitative study using a pragmatic approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on a purposive volunteer sample of 8 paramedics with a range of roles, locations and lengths of service. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed for analysis. Five stage framework analysis commenced in parallel with data collection. Results Two main themes emerged from the data. The first theme was when and how paramedics used NEWS in their decision making. All participants thought that they, and their peers, collected all the observations necessary to calculate a NEWS but that it didn’t enter their thoughts until after decisions had been made and were being documented. Participants saw NEWS as a tool to support their decisions but also thought NEWS may be beneficial for triggering decisions by non-paramedic ambulance staff. The second theme was how interactions with other healthcare professionals impacted on paramedics’ use of NEWS. The reception participants received when handing a NEWS over at hospital had a strong influence on their continuing use of NEWS. The perception that Emergency Department staff weren’t interested in NEWS acted as a negative influence on pre-hospital practice apart from one area where the local hospital encouraged the use of NEWS which had a localised positive reinforcing effect. Conclusions Paramedics use NEWS to support rather than trigger decisions. The perceived importance placed on information handed over at hospital influences paramedics pre-hospital practice. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/e2.3.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2016-206139.10
    • A qualitative investigation into paramedics' thoughts about the introduction of the National Early Warning Score

      McClelland, Graham; Haworth, Daniel (2016-05)
      Abstract published with permission. Introduction – The National Early Warning Score is a simple, rapid assessment tool developed by the Royal College of Physicians to standardise the assessment and monitoring of acutely ill patients. The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust introduced the National Early Warning Score in 2013/2014 to improve communication between the pre-hospital and hospital setting; however, there was and remains a lack of pre-hospital evidence that supports the value of the National Early Warning Score. A previous study showed that the utilisation of the National Early Warning Score by North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust paramedics was low. Objective – To investigate what North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust paramedics think about the National Early Warning Score and its use in practice. Design – Qualitative study using a pragmatic approach with recorded and transcribed semistructured interviews. Framework analysis commenced in parallel with data collection. Participants – A purposive volunteer sample of eight paramedics with a range of roles, locations, educational backgrounds and lengths of service. Results – Three major themes emerged from the data: applying the National Early Warning Score in practice, how the National Early Warning Score was used in decision making and how paramedic practice was subject to external influences. Conclusions – This study gives some insight into how paramedics use the National Early Warning Score in pre-hospital care and how they integrate it into their decision making. The findings also demonstrate the influence that external agencies, primarily the receiving acute hospitals, can have on pre-hospital practice.