Experiences of threats and violence in the Swedish ambulance service

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2002 Jul;10(3):127-35. doi: 10.1054/aaen.2002.0361.


Ambulance personnel often meet people in a crisis situation that requires a readiness to act, and which takes for granted a broad knowledge in caring, together with an ability to size up the circumstances in each separate incident. The afflicted individual's first contact with a medic in an emergency situation is very often ambulance personnel and this first meeting can involve incidents that may radically change the existing state of things for the ill or injured and, maybe, even for near relatives. Sometimes these situations can lead to threats and acts of violence aimed at the ambulance staff. The aim of the study was to describe how ambulance personnel perceive, how they are subjected to, and are influenced by, threats and violence in their day-to-day work. The empirical study was descriptive and consisted of a questionnaire comprising a total of 13 questions. Answers from the 66 respondents revealed that 53 persons (80.3%) were subjected to threats and/or violence. The majority were of the opinion that the relationship between the paramedic and the patient was most certainly affected when threat or violence is a part of the situation. The study shows that many ambulance personnel have, on occasion, been subjected to one or several threats and/or situations involving the use of violence. The majority regarded this as an unpleasant experience.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulances*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / psychology*
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Risk Management
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*