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Preventing EMS workplace violence: A mixed-methods analysis of insights from assaulted medics
Brian J. Maguire, Barbara J. O'Neill, Peter O'Meara, Matthew Browne, Michael T. Dealy

Due to the isolated and uncontrolled environments, contact with people in distress, and close proximity to patients, violence is a significant risk to emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. While there has been some research describing workplace violence in EMS, the study we will discuss this month focuses on preventing EMS workplace violence.

The authors of this study distributed a survey with 163 questions about demographics, career experience, job title, hours worked, and violence-related experiences. The survey received responses from 1,778 individuals from 13 countries.

This study focused specifically on individuals who indicated that they had been physically attacked while on duty in the last twelve months. These respondents were asked if they thought the incident could have been prevented. If they said yes, they were then asked to describe how the incident could have been prevented. The authors reviewed these responses, and using Haddon’s Matrix, organized their findings into 6 themes including:

  • Human factors: Specific populations and de-escalation
  • Equipment factors: self-defense equipment, restraint
    equipment, and resources
  • Operational environment factors: System-wide advance
  • Social environment factors: Public and interagency awareness
    and support
  • Human factors: Situational awareness
  • Operational environment factors: Law enforcement operations

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