Emotional experiences in emergency ambulance services

Benkoff, Jenni and Fletcher, Ian and Giga, Sabir (2020) Emotional experiences in emergency ambulance services. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Section one of this thesis is a meta-synthesis of qualitative literature exploring the emotional experiences of emergency ambulance personnel. Thorough searches of the literature were conducted in key databases, resulting in 16 studies being included in the synthesis. A meta-ethnography approach was followed, resulting in three overarching themes: moral distress, the emotional intensity of ambulance work and emotional regulation. The findings are considered in relation to related literature and theories. Several clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed. Section two is a qualitative study exploring the emotional experiences of emergency ambulance call handlers. Call handlers are the public’s initial point of contact to UK ambulance services and have critical information to obtain, in order to arrange an appropriate response. Twelve call handlers participated in semi-structured interviews, which were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three superordinate themes were identified: being more than a robot: “you’re not a robot and neither is the person on the end of the phone and neither is the patient”, belonging to a team: “we call each other the green family” and the unknown: “if you try and think about what’s going to happen next, you’d not be able to come to work”. The results are discussed in relation to theoretical perspectives, relevant literature, clinical implications and future research recommendations. Section three is a critical appraisal of the research process offering reflections on the ambiguity around the call handler role, the researcher’s previous experience, call handlers’ interest in the research and the potential relationship between emotional suppression and identifying or naming emotions. The complexities of managing the roles of a researcher and a practising clinician and the potential role for clinical psychologists in ambulance services are also discussed.

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Thesis (PhD)
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21 Jul 2020 11:26
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 10:53