Emergency medical services responders' perceptions of the effect of stress and anxiety on patient safety in the out-of-hospital emergency care of children: a qualitative study.
Prehospital emergencies are time critical, and they occur in uncontrolled and often challenging environments. Although emergency medical services (EMS) providers are known to experience high levels of stress, whether their stress contributes to patient safety problems is unclear. In this qualitative study, investigators analyzed perceptions of stress and safety in pediatric out-of-hospital emergencies. They identified factors that contribute to increased stress and therefore adversely affect patient safety, including provider sympathy for children and identification with children or family, which participants felt could cloud their clinical judgment, and lack of familiarity with pediatric emergencies, as seen in other clinical settings. This study highlights a need for specific pediatric training for EMS providers to enhance safety.