Title of Research
Unpacking the sociocultural characteristics of operational stress injuries among paramedics: A mixed-methods approach
Paramedics, like all public safety personnel (PSP), have a work-life that regularly involves potentially traumatic events. However, a national survey of PSP showed that paramedics appear to have a higher risk for suicidal behaviour (thought, plans, attempts) than some of their PSP counterparts like police and firefighters. Despite this information about paramedics, the scope of the issue, its root causes, and ways to improve paramedic mental health remain poorly understood.
The goal of the current study is to ensure a better understanding of these issues in paramedics. This study will have two parts. First, a comprehensive, written survey will be given to all paramedics in a large urban emergency medical service in Ontario. Secondly, in-depth interviews with individual paramedics will be completed to better understand how the professional culture of paramedicine may affect mental health and well-being.
With these two pieces, the research team hopes to gain a more holistic understanding of how common work-related illness is in paramedics, what risk factors exist, and how to create more supportive workplaces.
When to expect results
Preliminary results will be presented at the end-of-grant workshop.
Dr. Meghan McConnell, Assistant Professor, Department of Innovation and Medical Education at the University of Ottawa; Dr. Elizabeth Donnelly, Associate Professor, School of Social Work at the University of Windsor; Dr. Walter Tavares, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto; Justin Mausz, PhD candidate at McMaster University and an Advanced Care Paramedic.