• Decision making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2015-05)
      Introduction Decisions made by ambulance staff are often timecritical and based on limited information. Wrong decisions could have serious consequences for patients but little is known about areas of risk associated with decisions about patient care. We aimed to examine system in fluences on decision making in the ambulance service setting focusing on paramedic roles. Method An exploratory mixed methods qualitative study was conducted in three Ambulance Service Trusts. A document search and 16 interviews were conducted to understand service delivery in each Trust, how they link with other services and potential influences on decisions about patient care. Researchers observed ambulance crews on 34 shifts and 10 paramedics completed ‘digital diaries’ to report challenges for decision making or patient safety. Three focus groups with staff (N=21) and three with service users (N=23) were held to explore their views on decision making and patient safety. Data were charted to produce a typology of decisions then coded and thematically analysed to identify in fluences on those decisions. Findings Nine types of decision were identi fied, ranging from specialist emergency pathways to non-conveyance. In fluences on these decisions included communication with Control Room staff; patient assessment, decision support and alternative options to ED conveyance. Seven main issues in fluencing patient safety in decision making were identi fied: meeting demand; performance and priorities; access to care options; risk aversion; education, training and professional development for crews; communication and feedback to crews; resources and safety culture. Conclusions A range of decisions are made by ambulance staff in complex, time bound changing conditions. Training and development and access to alternative options to ED conveyance were identi fied as particularly important issues. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/32/5/e2.1.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-2015-204880.4
    • A qualitative study of decision-making and safety in ambulance service transitions

      O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Hirst, Enid; Weyman, Andrew; Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Turner, Janette; Mason, Suzanne; et al. (2014-12)
    • A qualitative study of systemic influences on paramedic decision making : care transitions and patient safety

      Shaw, Deborah; Mortimer, Peter; Newman, Chris; Storey, Matthew; Shewan, Jane; O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Siriwardena, Aloysius; Weyman, Andrew; Turner, Janette; et al. (2015-01)
    • Student paramedic decision-making: a critical exploration of a patient interaction

      Costello, Barry; Downs, Simon (2021-02)
      Clinical decision-making is a multifaceted construct, requiring the practitioner to gather, interpret and evaluate data to select and implement an evidence-based choice of action. Clinical reasoning is a difficult skill for students to develop due in part to the inability to guarantee awareness or opportunity to develop within time spent in practice. While professional developments within the past few years have established a supportive preceptorship programme within NHS trusts for new paramedic registrants, enhancing activities to develop these crucial skills within a pre-registrant programme should be prioritised to enhance the abilities of students and subsequent new registrants. A better understanding of the reasoning processes used during clinical decision-making may help health professionals with less experience to develop their processes in their own clinical reasoning. To embed such awareness and enhanced practice, the lead author, a third-year student paramedic at the time of writing, presents a reflective consideration of a patient encounter using the hypothetico-deductive model to evaluate and critically explore his own reasoning and processing within a meaningful patient interaction. Abstract published with permission.
    • ‘You're never making just one decision’: exploring the lived experiences of ambulance Emergency Operations Centre personnel

      Coxon, Astrid; Cropley, Mark; Schofield, Pat; Start, Kath; Horsfield, Claire; Quinn, Tom (2016-09)
      Background The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of ambulance dispatch personnel, identifying key stressors and their impact on staff well-being. Methods Qualitative methodology was used. Nine semistructured interviews were conducted with National Health Service (NHS) ambulance Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) dispatch personnel in the UK between July and August 2014. Participants were asked about their experiences of the role, stress experienced and current strategies they use to deal with stress. Transcripts were analysed using an inductive, bottom-up thematic analysis. Results Three key themes were identified: (1) ‘How dispatch is perceived by others’, (2) ‘What dispatch really involves’ and (3) ‘Dealing with the stresses of dispatch’. All participants expressed pride in their work, but felt overloaded by the workload and undervalued by others. Several sources of additional stress, not directly related to the execution of their work, were identified, including the need to mentally unwind from work at the end of a shift. Participants were able to identify a number of ways in which they currently manage work-related stress, but they also suggested changes the organisation could put in place in order to reduce stress in the working environment. Conclusions Building on existing theory on work stress and postwork recovery, it was concluded that EOC dispatch staff require greater support at work, including skills training to promote postshift recovery, in order to reduce the likelihood of sickness absence, and prevent work-related fatigue. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/645.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-2015-204841