Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (College of Arts and Science)

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

First Supervisor

Professor Richard G. Berlach

Second Supervisor

Doctor Marieke Ledingham


Paramedics throughout the world are trained to competently treat the physical injuries of patients requiring pre-hospital emergency medical care. The nature of this work exposes them to highly traumatic and often life threatening situations. As a result of working with this stress and trauma, they themselves can experience emotional, psychological, and physical trauma (Gayton & Lovell, 2012). Research suggests that they receive little education and training about how to effectively manage this trauma (Gayton & Lovelle, 2012) and that many paramedics experience symptoms of Burnout, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Depression (Beaton, 2006; Millar, 2004; Shakespeare-Finch, 2006). The impact of working with trauma affects individual paramedics, families, paramedic organisations, the paramedic profession, and members of the community who seek ambulance services around the world. Some studies suggest the implications of this impact contributes to an average five-year work life among the paramedic workforce in one Australian state (Streb, Haller & Michael, 2014) but veteran paramedics appear to be an anomaly of resilience among the paramedic population. The current qualitative study investigates the veteran paramedic’s experience of managing work-related trauma and aims to identify trauma management strategies that contribute to the longevity of their career. Interviews were conducted with twelve veteran paramedics and data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results identified five main themes, each with their respective sub-themes. The results of this study were expected to contribute toward strengthening paramedic resilience, to benefit the families of paramedics, paramedic organisations and contribute toward the improvement of care for patients.

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