Years ago, when I worked in a 911 center, I don’t ever remember hearing the terms “vicarious trauma,” or “compassion fatigue.”
Occasionally “burnout” was mentioned to describe how we felt after long stretches of intense work; although it mostly expressed
years of exhaustion and time spent in the emergency dispatch center. Not much attention was given to the day-to-day stress and
mental trauma that was happening along the way.
Emergency dispatch personnel play a crucial role in emergency response systems by serving as the initial point of contact during crises. The high-stress environment they operate in, coupled with the demanding nature of their responsibilities, raises concerns about their psychological well-being.
Most United Kingdom (UK) ambulance services undertake remote clinical consultation of 999 emergency calls, often using computerised decision support systems, such as the Emergency Communication Nurse System (ECNS). In 2021 the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust implemented ECNS in a novel way. Both nurses and paramedics used the tool to assess the full range of Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS) codes and acuities. This study reports the ECNS outcomes of the full range of AMPDS codes, aiming to inform future discussion, protocol evolution, and clinical models internationally.
The following case is a medical emergency call handled by a large metropolitan emergency medical service (EMS) agency. This agency handles over 12,000 emergency and non-emergency ambulance calls per month in an area over 270 square miles, with a population of around 500,000.The emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) used the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) version 13.3 (NAE) to handle this call.
Dr. Andre V. Jones is an Assistant Executive Director and Head of Profession-EMD for Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service, the national ambulance service in the State of Qatar. He also served as the executive lead for the FIFA (World Cup 2022) Medical Command Center, which is within the National Healthcare Incident Command Center. He earned his B.Sc, M.S., M.P.A., and Ph.D. with concentrations in Emergency Management. His research focuses on improving leadership and retention in emergency dispatch, and he is pursuing another Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.