Critical Incident Stress Debriefing of the Emergency Medical Services Staff of Hamad Medical Corporation: Effectiveness and Implications

Friday, 11 July 2008: 10:20 AM
Dora Maria Carbonu, RN, MN, EdD , Emergency Medical Services Department, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Learning Objective 1: Identify critical incidents and other stressors that impact on the health and well-being of Emergency Medical Services Staff of Hamad Medical Corporation

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the strategies and tools implemented, as well as the effectiveness of those tools in helping the staff cope with their stressors

The Emergency Medical Services Department (EMS) of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) receives, on the average, two hundred (200) emergency 999 calls in a day. The expectation of the general public is that each call would be taken seriously and handled competently. The EMS personnel are perceived as “tough guys”, who can handle anything under any circumstances. In reality, however, these individuals are routinely exposed to all kinds of traumatic events and critical incidents, which impact on their physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, with the result that they become “helpers seeking help” for themselves. The demand for critical intervention strategies to help the staff cope in those moments of distress has been an ongoing challenge. The goal is to assist them in acquiring a certain adaptively defensive toughness of attitude, temperament, and training that would enable them to do their work effectively and efficiently. This paper discusses a case study approach which was used to determine the types of critical incidents and other stresses experienced by the EMS staff; the impact of those stressors on their health and well-being; the critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) strategy implemented to help relieve staff's stressors; the effectiveness of CISD in achieving the expected goal; and the implications for long term maximization of outcomes associated with CISD as a clinically effective tool.