A qualitative exploration of the views of paramedics regarding the identification of cardiovascular risk factors in the pre-hospital environment

Josie Taylor, Graham McClelland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cardiovascular disease remains the most prominent cause of death in England. Healthcare professionals have been encouraged to identify cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs). The aim of this study was to explore how paramedics contribute to the identification of CVRFs in the pre-hospital setting, through their role, behaviours and practice.

Methods: The study took place within the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust supported by a National Institute for Health Research clinical research internship. A qualitative approach was used, and a single focus group was conducted. The study recruited participants through advertising for volunteers and purposive sampling. The themes that arose from the focus group allowed the initial exploration of the views of paramedics in relation to role, behaviour and practice in identifying CVRFs.

Results: A single focus group with five paramedics was conducted in June 2021. Two central themes emerged: education/health promotion and fear/anxiety. Participants agreed that their role in this area centred around patient education. Participants’ behaviours and practice were adversely affected through fear of complaints, fear of hypocrisy and feeling a lack of support from the ambulance service. Participants felt that further training and subsequent indemnity from complaints would improve the likelihood of more direct patient education. Support from the ambulance service to improve employees’ own health and well-being was also a key topic of discussion.

Conclusion: The study explored the views of a small sample of paramedics on this topic. Patient education was felt to be part of a paramedic’s role; however, barriers were identified that prevent paramedics from carrying out this role. Further research is needed to explore these barriers further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

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