Growth and meaning from negotiating the complex journey of being an Emergency Medical Dispatcher

Shakespeare-Finch, Jane E. & Adams, Kaye (2015) Growth and meaning from negotiating the complex journey of being an Emergency Medical Dispatcher. In Reconstructing Meaning after Trauma. Elsevier. (In Press)

Abstract

Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) are charged with taking the calls of those who ring the national emergency number for urgent medical assistance, for dispatching paramedical crews, and for providing as much assistance as can be offered remotely until paramedics arrive. In a job role which is filled with vicarious trauma, emergency situations, pressure, abuse, grief and loss, EMDs are often challenged in maintaining their mental health. The seemingly senseless death of a teenager who commits suicide, the devastating loss of a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, lives lost through natural disasters, and multiple vehicle fatalities are only a few of the types of experiences EMDs are faced with in the course of their work. However, amongst the horror are positive stories such as coaching a caller to negotiate the birth of a baby and saving a life in jeopardy from heart failure. EMD’s need to cope with the daily challenges of the role; make sense of their work and create meaning in order to have a fulfilled and sustainable career. Although some people in this work struggle greatly to withstand the impacts of vicarious trauma, there are also stories of personal growth. In this Chapter we use a case study to explore how meaning is made for those who are an auditory witness to a continual flux of trauma for others and how the traumatic experiences EMDs bear witness to can also be a catalyst for posttraumatic growth.

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ID Code: 90791
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: trauma, posttraumatic growth, meaning, emergency service, medical dispatchers
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Elsevier
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2015 03:14
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 01:06

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