Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Incidence and impact of incivility in paramedicine: a qualitative study


Background Incivility or rudeness is a form of interpersonal aggression. Studies suggest that up to 90% of healthcare staff encounter incivility at work with it being considered ‘part of the job’.

Methods Qualitative, in-depth, semistructured interviews (n=14) undertaken between June and December 2019. Purposive sampling was used to identify front-line paramedics working for one NHS Ambulance Trust. Interviews lasted between 16 and 45 min, were audiorecorded, verbatim transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Four themes were identified: paramedics reported a lack of respect displayed both verbally and non-verbally from other professional groups. The general public and interdisciplinary colleagues alike have unrealistic expectations of the role of a paramedic. In order to deal with incivility paramedics often reported taking the path of least resistance which impacts on ways of working and shapes subsequent clinical decision-making, potentially threatening best practice. Finally paramedics report using coping strategies to support well-being at work. They report that a single episode of incivility is easier to deal with but subsequent episodes compound the first.

Conclusions This study highlights the effect incivility can have on operational paramedics. Incivility from the general public and other health professionals alike can have a cumulative effect impacting on well-being and clinical decision-making.

  • paramedics
  • effectiveness
  • prehospital
  • prehospital care
  • communications
  • qualitative research

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data are anonymised audio transcription quotes of which are used in this paper.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.