An Assessment of Psychological Need in Emergency Medical Staff in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust Area

Aisling McAleese, Aisling Diamond, David Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
198 Downloads (Pure)


Setting: Psychological stress is increasingly recognised within emergency medicine, given the environmental and clinical stressors associated with the specialism. The current study assessed whether psychological distress is experienced by emergency medical staff and if so, what is the expressed need within this population? Participants: Participants included ambulance personnel, nursing staff, doctors and ancillary support staff within two Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and twelve ambulance bases within one Trust locality in NI (N = 107). Primary and secondary outcome measures: The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12, Goldberg, 1972, 1978), Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS, Bride, 2004) and an assessment of need questionnaire were completed and explored using mixed method analysis. Results: Results showed elevated levels of psychological distress within each profession except ambulance service clinical support officers (CSOs). Elevated levels of secondary trauma symptomatology were also found; the highest were within some nursing grades and junior doctors. Decreased enjoyment in job over time was significantly associated with higher scores. Analysis of qualitative data identified sources of stress to include low morale. A total of 65% of participants thought that work related stressors had negatively affected their mental health. Participants explored what they felt could decrease psychological distress including improved resources and psychoeducation. Conclusion: There were elevated levels of distress and secondary traumatic stress within this population as well as an expressed level of need, on both systemic and support levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalThe Ulster Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


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