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      The encounter with the unknown: Nurses lived experiences of their responsibility for the care of the patient in the Swedish ambulance service

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          Abstract

          Registered nurses (RNs) have, according to the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, the overall responsibility for the medical care in the ambulance care setting. Bringing RNs into the ambulance service are judged, according to earlier studies, to lead to a degree of professionalism with a higher quality of medical care. Implicitly in earlier studies, the work in the ambulance service involves interpersonal skills. The aim of this study was to describe RNs' experiences of being responsible for the care of the patient in the Swedish ambulance service. A reflective lifeworld approach within the perspective of caring science was used. Five RNs with at least five years experience from care in the ambulance care setting were interviewed. The findings show that the essence of the phenomenon is to prepare and create conditions for care and to accomplish care close to the patient. Three meaning constituents emerged in the descriptions: prepare and create conditions for the nursing care, to be there for the patient and significant others and create comfort for the patient and significant others. The responsibility is a complex phenomenon, with a caring perspective, emerging from the encounter with the unique human being.

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          Most cited references33

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          The essence of essences – the search for meaning structures in phenomenological analysis of lifeworld phenomena

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            Emergency (999) calls to the ambulance service that do not result in the patient being transported to hospital: an epidemiological study.

            To describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients who are not transported to hospital after an emergency (999) call to the East Midlands Ambulance Service, the reason for non-transportation, and the priority assigned when the ambulance is dispatched. The first 500 consecutive non-transported patients from 1 March 2000 were identified from the ambulance service command and control data. Epidemiological and clinical data were then obtained from the patient report form completed by the attending ambulance crew and compared with the initial priority dispatch (AMPDS) code that determined the urgency of the ambulance response. Data were obtained for 498 patients. Twenty six per cent of these calls were assigned an AMPDS delta code (the most urgent category) at the time the call was received. Falls accounted for 34% of all non-transported calls. This group of patients were predominantly elderly people (over 70 years old) and the majority (89%) were identified as less urgent (coded AMPDS alpha or bravo) at telephone triage. The mean time that an ambulance was committed to each non-transported call was 34 minutes. This study shows that falls in elderly people account for a significant proportion of non-transported 999 calls and are often assigned a low priority when the call is first received. There could be major gains if some of these patients could be triaged to an alternative response, both in terms of increasing the ability of the ambulance service to respond faster to clinically more urgent calls and improving the cost effectiveness of the health service. The AMPDS priority dispatch system has been shown to be sensitive but this study suggests that its specificity may be poor, resulting in rapid responses to relatively minor problems. More research is required to determine whether AMPDS prioritisation can reliably and safely identify 999 calls where an alternative to an emergency ambulance would be a more appropriate response.
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              Why are people without medical needs transported by ambulance? A study of indications for pre-hospital care.

              The purpose of this report was to describe the characteristics of patients transported by ambulance, in spite of being evaluated by the ambulance staff at the scene as not requiring prehospital care. A second aim was to compare these patients with those judged as being in need of this care. Three ambulance service districts located in different rural and metropolitan geographical areas were included in the study and all three were covered by a single emergency dispatch centre. Following the dispatch of ambulances, the staff assessed and recorded the medical needs of the patients at the scene, according to a questionnaire developed for the study. In addition to the questionnaire, data were extracted from the ambulance medical records database for each patient. If the patients were just transported by ambulance without receiving any other prehospital intervention, they were assessed as not being in need of the emergency service. The evaluation included events at the scene and during transportation. The ambulance staff making the needs assessments were emergency medical technicians and registered nurses. In this report, 604 patients who did not require prehospital care are described and compared with the remaining group of patients who required this care (1373). For analysis, descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The ambulance staff assessed that, among patients reported by the emergency medical dispatch centre as having abdominal or urinary problems, 42% did not need the ambulance service. Even among intrahospital transports (patients for whom medical personnel made the request for an ambulance), 45% did not require ambulance transport, as judged by the ambulance staff. Among patients reported by the emergency medical dispatch centre as having chest pain or other heart symptoms or trauma/accidents, respectively, only small percentages (18%) and (17%) did not require the ambulance service, as assessed by the ambulance staff. Most of the patients without obvious medical needs had been allocated an ambulance response for nonurgent conditions, that is priority level 2 or 3, but patients without medical needs were even found at the highest priority level 1. Of the patients who did not require an ambulance, more than half (55%) would have been able to get to a hospital in their own car or by taxi, whereas the remainder of the patients needed a transport vehicle in which they could lie down, but which was not equipped and staffed like an ambulance. Among the patients transported by the emergency medical service system in the study areas, a significant percentage were judged by the ambulance staff as not being in need of prehospital interventions. The majority were transported by a fully equipped emergency medical ambulance to an emergency medical department at a hospital, without requiring any prehospital interventions either at the scene or during transportation. The emergency medical service organization has to develop clear criteria for the utilization of ambulance services that can be accepted and implemented by the dispatch centres and by healthcare personnel. These criteria need to include safety margins and at the same time enable the appropriate use of resources.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: RN MNS
                Role: Professor
                Journal
                Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being
                QHW
                International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
                CoAction Publishing
                1748-2623
                1748-2631
                22 March 2010
                2010
                : 5
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Ambulance Service Department, Sörmland County Council, Katrineholm, Sweden
                [2 ]Department of Health Care Sciences, Ersta Sköndal University College, Stockholm, Sweden
                [3 ]School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden
                Author notes
                Correspondence: M. Holmberg, Ambulance Service Department, Sörmland County Council, Kullbergska Hospital, Box 110, 641 22 Katrineholm, Sweden. Tel: +46 70 557 30 69. E-mail: mats@ 123456methos.se
                Article
                QHW-5-5098
                10.3402/qhw.v5i2.5098
                2875973
                20640018
                7653109d-e32d-4a64-8510-a32d941dbc90
                ©2010 M. Holmberg & I. Fagerberg

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Empirical Studies

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