An Integrative Systematic Review of Promoting Patient Safety Within Prehospital Emergency Medical Services by Paramedics: A Role Theory Perspective

Maria Strandås, M. Flores Vizcaya-Moreno, Kari Ingstad, Mojtaba Vaismoradi, Jaana Sepp, Ljudmila Linnik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Timely and effective prehospital care significantly impacts patient outcomes. Paramedics, as the frontline providers of emergency medical services, are entrusted with a range of critical responsibilities aimed at safeguarding the well-being of patients from the moment they initiate contact in the out-of-hospital environment to the time of handover at healthcare facilities. This study aimed to understand the multifaceted roles of paramedics in promoting patient safety within the context of prehospital emergency medical services. A systematic review with an integrative approach using the Whittemore and Knafl’s framework was performed examining qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research, then conducting data assessment, quality appraisal, and narrative research synthesis. Literature search encompassed PubMed (including MEDLINE), Scopus, Cinahl, ProQuest, Web of Science, and EMBASE, with the aim of retrieving studies published in English in the last decade from 2013 to 2023. To conceptualize the roles of paramedics in ensuring patient safety, the review findings were reflected to and analyzed through the role theory. The preliminary exploration of the database yielded 2397 studies, ultimately narrowing down to a final selection of 16 studies for in-depth data analysis and research synthesis. The review findings explored facilitators and obstacles faced by paramedics in maintaining patient safety in terms of role ambiguity, role conflict, role overload, role identity, and role insufficiency in the dynamic nature of prehospital care. It also highlighted the diverse roles of paramedics in ensuring patient safety, which encompassed effective communication and decision making for the appropriate management of life-threatening emergencies. The effectiveness of paramedics in playing their roles in promoting patient safety relies on acknowledging the contributions of paramedics to the culture of patient safety; training and educational initiatives focused on enhancing their decision-making abilities and both their non-technical and technical competencies; developing relevant guidelines and protocols; improving collaboration between paramedics and other healthcare peers; optimizing environmental conditions and equipment; fostering a supportive work environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1385-1400
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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