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Crossing the ‘flaky bridge’ – the initial transitory experiences of qualifying as a paramedic: a mixed-methods study.

Phillips, P. and Trenoweth, S., 2023. Crossing the ‘flaky bridge’ – the initial transitory experiences of qualifying as a paramedic: a mixed-methods study. British Paramedic Journal, 8 (1), 18-27.

Full text available as:

Transition to Paramedic Profession Accepted Article.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.29045/14784726.2023.


Introduction: Newly qualified paramedics (NQPs) may experience emotional turbulence as they transition to professional practice. This may negatively affect confidence and have an adverse effect on attrition. This study highlights the initial transitory experiences of NQPs. Methods: The study utilised a mixed-methods convergent design. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected simultaneously and triangulated to more fully interpret participants’ experiences. A convenience sample of 18 NQPs from one ambulance trust was used. The Connor–Davidson Resilience 25-point Scale questionnaire (CD-RISC25) was administered and analysed using descriptive statistics. Semi-structured interviews were conducted simultaneously and analysed using Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory approach. Data were collected from September to December 2018. Results: There was a range of resilience scores, with a mean of 74.7/100 (standard deviation 9.6). Factors relating to social support were scored highly, and factors relating to determinism and spirituality were scored lower. Qualitative data constructed a process whereby participants were navigating a new identity across three spheres simultaneously: professional, social and personal identity. Attending a catalyst event such as attending a cardiac arrest was a trigger for starting to navigate this process. Participants had different pathways through this transitional period. Participants who found this process particularly turbulent seemed to have lower resilience scores. Conclusion: The transition from student to NQP is an emotionally turbulent time. Navigating a changing identity seems to be at the centre of this turbulence, and this is triggered by a catalyst event such as attending a cardiac arrest. Interventions which support the NQP in navigating this change in identity, such as group supervision, may improve resilience, self-efficacy and reduce attrition.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:emotions; paramedic; resilience; self-efficacy; socialisation; transition
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:38458
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Apr 2023 15:46
Last Modified:20 Jun 2023 12:10


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