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Publication Title

Education in Medicine Journal


This study aimed to obtain empirical data on the lived experiences of emergency care technicians (ECT) during their transition into the emergency medical service work environment. This qualitative (phenomenological) study used focus group discussions with 26 ECT graduates to obtain verbal statements describing their lived experiences when transiting from college to pre-hospital workplace environments. The three dominant emerging themes were workplace readiness and reception, professional confidence, and resistance in the workplace. The experiences reported regarding workplace readiness and reception were largely negative. The majority of the participants shared that the EMS station they were deployed to had not been ready to receive and optimally utilise their skills. In addition, participants stated that their integration into the workplace had been unpleasant, as they experienced a great deal of exclusion and resistance from colleagues. Furthermore, participants described how peer support, positive feedback from patients and co-workers, and the new skills and knowledge acquired during training enhanced their professional confidence. These findings suggest that more needs to be done by stakeholders in emergency care education and practice in South Africa to ensure that the transition of graduate paramedics to the workplace environment is a positive and less stressful experience. The recommendations made in this article could be beneficial in achieving this.



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paramedics, workplace transition, emergency care technician graduates