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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Posttraumatic stress disorder among paramedics: exploring a new solution with occupational health nurses using the Ottawa Charter as a framework

Cheryl Drewitz-Chesney
Workplace Health & Safety 2012, 60 (6): 257-63
22624848
Paramedics have the highest rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among emergency service workers, higher than police or firefighters. This disorder can be detrimental to their personal and family lives, as well as their careers. Current biomedical, behavioral, and socioenvironmental interventions do not address paramedics' work environment, which contributes to the high rate of PTSD. Occupational health nurses can influence the triad of factors contributing to PTSD among paramedics by facilitating social support and emotional expression while advocating for reduced job exposure to traumatic events. This goal can be accomplished by using a component of the Ottawa Charter, creating a supportive work environment, as a framework. Occupational health nurses, together with management and paramedics, can facilitate a sustainable and supportive work environment that initiates change from within the trauma membrane of paramedics' workplaces to prevent PTSD.

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