The level of stress experienced by Hamad Medical Corporation Paramedics before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mohammed Jameel Al Barbari, Padarath Gangaram, Gary Kenward, Hmoud Alolimat, James Laughton, Guillaume Alinier

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Abstract

Background: Paramedics are at risk of burnout which represents a concern for the healthcare system and public health 1 . In Italy, about 20% of health practitioners were infected, and some died during their work fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic 2 , but little is known regarding paramedics. This study assessed the level of stress associated with the work of Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service (HMCAS) paramedics in Qatar before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An online survey combining validated tools including the Workplace Stress Scale 3 , with additional questions, was sent to all HMCAS frontline staff (n = 1,100) between January and May 2021 with text message reminders. The items upon which the level of stress of paramedics was determined before and during the pandemic are presented in Table 1. The level of stress was determined based on the responses to 9 questions. Results: 274 valid responses were received. The level of stress was then split into five categories, from low to dangerous. Based on the paramedics’ responses, their reported level of stress was in the moderate range before the pandemic and reached the severe level during the pandemic (Table 2). Conclusion: The reported level of stress among HMCAS paramedics was significantly higher during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to prior levels of stress. This can probably be explained by the very nature of their profession as frontline clinicians responding to emergency calls and being potentially exposed to the viral infection. Strategies need to be put in place to effectively mitigate the effects of increased stress levels experienced, so that paramedics remain safe and able to provide effective medical care rather than succumb to mental and physical illness related to stress.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Acute Care
Volume2022
Issue number1
Early online date26 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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