Paramedics' experiences and coping strategies when encountering critical incidents

Nira Avraham, Hadass Goldblatt, Eli Yafe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paramedics frequently encounter critical incidents (CIs). Their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to these encounters present them with a variety of difficulties on the way to, during, and after events. The aim of our study was to examine how paramedics working in a large emergency service organization in Israel experienced CIs and the coping strategies they used to deal with these experiences. We interviewed 15 paramedics from this organization. Through data analysis, we revealed two main themes: (1) between connection and detachment and (2) between control and lack of control of the situation. Paramedics, who connected with their feelings regarding the patient and/or the family in different CIs, as well as those who sensed a lack of control, experienced difficult and negative emotions. To achieve detachment, they used a variety of coping strategies. Those who experienced cognitive and functional control of the situation reported a positive and empowering experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-208
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • emergency care
  • illness and disease, life-threatening / terminal
  • interviews, semistructured
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • power / empowerment
  • research, qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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