Although many international sources in literature describe the stress experienced by emergency workers, very few actually evaluate the experiences of emergency medical care practitioners and the care that is offered, and whether it is beneficial to and supportive of an optimal level of health. The researcher initiated this study with the specific goal of exploring the experiences of Emergency Medical Care Practitioners after exposure to fatal motor vehicle accident scenes. The research will constitute an initial exploration of possible factors related to the daily work exposure of EMCPs and will thus explore and describe the situation broadly.
By exploring the experiences of these EMCPs it is hoped that insight may be gained into factors influencing their experiences and behaviour and the attainment of successful working environments. The information that was gathered has been incorporated into the writing of recommendations for Emergency Medical Service towards the improvement of EMCPs.
The objectives of the study are:
? to describe the field of practice of EMCPs, their constant exposure to trauma and the phenomenon of fatal motor vehicle accident scenes;
? to explore the experiences of EMCPs of fatal motor vehicle accident scenes;
? to determine EMCPs' experience of their constant exposure to trauma and its effect on their daily functioning;
? to explore the experiences and awareness of EMCPs of current EAP services; and to formulate recommendations for EAP support services to EMCPs regarding their exposure to trauma and specifically to fatal motor vehicle accident scenes.
A qualitative approach guided the research process of gathering detailed data that is rich in context, in which nine one-on-one semi-structured interviews were held with Emergency Medical Care Practitioners. This study was conducted in an Emergency Services station in Gauteng, South Africa.
The bio-psychosocial approach was used in this study as an appropriate theoretical framework. This approach views health and wellness as the result of the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors, hence all three components should be taken into consideration when the illness, or rather the holistic wellness, of an individual is assessed. In this study, the case study design was used, specifically the collective case study, in order to study various participants. The unit of analysis comprised all EMCPs in the field of the Emergency Medical Care Division in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality who had experienced being on the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident. Non-probability volunteer sampling was specifically employed, which meant that participants chose whether they wished to participate in the study or not, so as not to feel obliged or coerced. It was found to be the best method to use, as participants were known to one another and encouraged one another to become involved in the study. The researcher made use of semi-structured one-on-one interviews which were voice recorded in order to gain a detailed picture of the participants' experiences after being exposed to fatal motor vehicle accident scenes. The interviews were transcribed and subsequently analysed using the steps set out by Creswell (2004:155).
Trustworthiness was considered a primary means to ensure rigour in qualitative research without any concomitant sacrifice of relevance. The researcher employed the constructs of credibility and dependability in order to ensure trustworthiness in this research. Trustworthiness is established when findings reflect as closely as possible the meanings described by the participants. Member checking and peer debriefing were the strategies that the researcher used to support the argument that the researcher's findings are worth paying attention to. Compliance with ethical principles was crucial to the researcher. Before the research commenced, letters of approval were obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria and the City of Tshwane: Research and Innovation. Ethical principles governing the manner in which the research was conducted were also observed, as the study involved human subjects and the researcher aimed to protect the participants. The following ethical considerations were relevant to this study: no harm to participants, informed consent, voluntary participation, confidentiality, debriefing and release or publication of findings.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.