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Registered nurses’ experiences of their decision-making at an Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 24, no 7-8, 1122-1131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims and objectives: To describe registered nurses experiences at an Emergency Medical Dispatch Centre.

Background: It is important that ambulances are urgently directed to patients who are in need of immediate help and of quick transportation to a hospital. Because resources are limited, Emergency Medical Dispatch centres cannot send ambulances with high priority to all callers. The efficiency of the system is therefore dependent on triage. Nurses worldwide are involved in patient triage, both before the patients arrival to the hospital and in the subsequent emergency care. Ambulance dispatching is traditionally a duty for operators at Emergency Medical Dispatch centres, and in Sweden this duty has become increasingly performed by registered nurses.

Design: A qualitative design was used for this study.

Methods: Fifteen registered nurses with experience at Emergency Medical Dispatch centres were interviewed. The participants were asked to describe the content of their work and their experiences. They also described the most challenging and difficult situations according to the critical incidence technique. Content analysis was used.

Results: Two themes emerged during the analysis: ‘Having a profession with opportunities and obstacles’ and ‘Meeting serious and difficult situations’, with eight sub-themes. The results showed that the decisions to dispatch ambulances were both challenging and difficult. Difficulties included conveying medical advice without seeing the patient, teaching cardio-pulmonary resuscitation via telephone and dealing with intoxicated and aggressive callers. Conflicts with colleagues and ambulance crews as well as fear of making wrong decisions were also mentioned.

Conclusions: Work at Emergency Medical Dispatch centres is a demanding but stimulating duty for registered nurses.

Relevance to clinical practice: Great benefits can be achieved using experienced triage nurses, including increased patient safety and better use of medical resources. Improved internal support systems at Emergency Medical Dispatch centres and striving for a blame-free culture are important factors to attract and retain employees.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 24, no 7-8, 1122-1131 p.
Keyword [en]
ambulance, content analysis, decision-making, emergency, priority, triage
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-24878DOI: 10.1111/jocn.12701ISI: 000351633800023Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84925332575OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-24878DiVA: diva2:807216
Available from: 2015-04-23 Created: 2015-04-23 Last updated: 2015-08-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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