Article Text

Download PDFPDF

262 Paramedics’ perceptions of job demands and resources in finnish emergency medical services: a qualitative descriptive study
  1. CR Ericsson1,2,
  2. V Lindström3,4,5,
  3. A Rudman6,7,
  4. H Nordquist2,8,9
  1. 1Department of Healthcare, Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Section of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. 4Samariten Ambulance, Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 5Sophiahemmet University, Stockholm, Sweden
  6. 6Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  7. 7Department of Health and Welfare, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden
  8. 8Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  9. 9South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Kotka, Finland


Background Paramedic professionals’ fatigue is rising 1 2. Stress factors show increased risk for burnout and fatigue, leaving the profession, decreased performance and risk for patient safety. (1) Meanwhile, paramedics’ strong community of practice, autonomy of practice and a sense of professional respect are important factors in forming psychological resilience.3 This study aimed to explore Finnish paramedics’ perceptions of job demands and resources.

Method A cross-sectional descriptive study with qualitative design, utilizing an inductive constructivist approach. The study used reflexive thematic analysis, by Braun and Clarke, to analyse two data sets of responses from professional Finnish paramedics; open-ended questions from a web-based survey (n=174) and essays written by masters-degree students (n=34).

Results The results were categorized into job demands or resources, as defined in Job Demands and Resource model by Demerouti and Bakker. Themes identified as paramedics’ job demands were continuous stress from mentally burdening work (high workload, environmental stress factors and bearing patients’ and relatives’ emotional burden), uncertainty under expectation pressures (sense of inadequacy and a pressure to perform) and organizational lack of support. Themes identified as paramedics’ job resources were pressure management strategies (distancing coping mechanisms, ability to handle clinical demands and ability to affect own work) and professional self-actualization (psychologically safe work community, professional sense of pride and internal drive to professional development).

Conclusion Finnish paramedics exhibit both job demands and resources. Performance pressure, uncertainty and emotional burden and also environmental hazards and psychological safety in communities. This indicates a need to address not only physical aspects of the paramedic work but also early stage performance expectations and organizational cultures.


  1. Lawn S, Roberts L, Willis E, Couzner L, Mohammadi L, Goble E. The effects of emergency medical service work on the psychological, physical, and social well-being of ambulance personnel: a systematic review of qualitative research. BMC Psychiatry 2020;20(1):348.

  2. Rivard MK, Cash RE, Woodyard KC, Crowe RP, Panchal AR. Intentions and Motivations for Exiting the Emergency Medical Services Profession Differ Between Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. Journal of Allied Health 2020;49(1):53–9.

  3. Yu F, Raphael D, Mackay L, Smith M, King A. Personal and work-related factors associated with nurse resilience: a systematic review. Int J Nurs Stud 2019;93:129–40.

Conflict of interest None declared.

Funding None.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: .

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.