Original Research

South African pre-hospital emergency care personnel’s lived experiences of managing paediatric emergencies: A qualitative research design utilising one-on-one interviews

Colin G. Mosca, Christopher Stein, Heather Lawrence
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 26 | a1558 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v26i0.1558 | © 2021 Colin G. Mosca, Christopher Stein, Heather Lawrence | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 November 2020 | Published: 22 July 2021

About the author(s)

Colin G. Mosca, Department of Emergency Medical Care, Faculty of Health Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Christopher Stein, Department of Emergency Medical Care, Faculty of Health Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Heather Lawrence, Department of Allied Health Professions, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom


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Abstract

Background: The phenomenon of managing paediatric emergencies in the pre-hospital environment within the South African setting is poorly understood with specific regard to what emergency care personnel are experiencing when managing paediatric emergencies.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of emergency care personnel in managing paediatric patients in the pre-hospital environment and to understand the meaning and the significance of these experiences.

Setting: All participants were purposively sampled from emergency medical services agencies operating within the Johannesburg metropolitan city area.

Methods: This study followed a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive, phenomenological design, whereby participants purposively sampled within the Johannesburg metropolitan city voluntarily consented to one-on-one interviews (n = 10).

Results: Three main themes, with 11 contributing categories, were identified and contextualised with available literature. Emerging from the main themes was an overall sense that managing paediatric emergencies is a negative experience, coloured with feelings of inadequacy, stress, anxiety and even fear.

Conclusions: The findings of this study provided new insights into what South African EMS are experiencing when managing paediatric emergencies, which enables future research efforts to identify research and practice gaps that are relevant to paediatric pre-hospital emergency care, and that are specific to the South African environment.

Contribution: This research provides preliminary insight into the lived experiences of prehospital personnel managing paediatric emergencies as well as emerging recommendations for the improvement of the prehospital care of paediatric patients.


Keywords

paediatrics; emergencies; South Africa; pre-hospital emergency care; emergency care personnel; perceptions; lived experiences

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