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A paramedic field supervisor's situational awareness in prehospital emergency care

A paramedic field supervisor's situational awareness in prehospital emergency care

Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 29(2): 151-159

Situational awareness (SA), or being aware of what is going on and what might happen next, is essential for the successful management of prehospital emergency care. However, far too little attention has been paid to the flow of information. Having the right information is important when formulating plans and actions. The aim of this study was to analyze and describe the type of information that is meaningful for SA in the work of paramedic field supervisors, and to create an information profile for them in the context of prehospital emergency care. Data were collected from January through March 2012 from semi-structured interviews with ten paramedic field supervisors representing four rescue departments in Finland. The interviews were based on three different types of real-life scenarios in the context of prehospital emergency care, and deductive content analysis was employed according to the information exchange meta-model. Data management and analysis were performed using Atlas.ti 7. A paramedic field supervisor information interest profile was formulated. The most important information categories were Events, Means, Action Patterns, and Decisions. The profile showed that paramedic field supervisors had four roles - situation follower, analyzer, planner and decision maker - and they acted in all four roles at the same time in the planning and execution phases. Paramedic field supervisors are multitasking persons, building SA by using the available data, combining it with extensive know-how from their working methods and competencies, and their tacit knowledge. The results can be used in developing work processes, training programs, and information systems.

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Accession: 051204518

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24588978

DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X14000132

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