Prehospital Stressors: A Cross-sectional Study of Norwegian Helicopter Emergency Medical Physicians
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAir Medical Journal. 2020, . 10.1016/j.amj.2020.05.016
Objective Personnel working in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) and search and rescue (SAR) are exposed to environmental stressors, which may impair performance. The aim of this survey was to study the extent HEMS and SAR physicians report the influence of specific danger-based and non–danger-based stressors. Methods The study was performed as a cross-sectional, anonymous, Web-based (Questback AS, Bogstadveien 54, 0366 Oslo, Norway) survey of Norwegian HEMS and SAR physicians between December 2, 2019, and February 25, 2020. Results Of the recipients, 119 (79.3%) responded. In helicopter operations, 33.6% (n = 40) reported involvement in a minor accident and 44.5% (n = 53) a near accident. In the rapid response car, 26.1% (n = 31) reported near accidents, whereas 26.9% (32) reported this in an ambulance. Of physicians, 20.2% (n = 24) received verbal abuse or threats during the last 12 months. When on call, 50.4% (n = 60) of physicians reported sometimes or often being influenced by fatigue. Conclusion This study shows that Norwegian HEMS and SAR physicians are exposed to several stressors of both a danger-based and non–danger-based nature, especially regarding accidents, threatening patient behavior, and fatigue. Very serious incidents appear to be seldom, and job satisfaction is high.