Emergency Transport Crew: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Prevention Program


  • Heather Dearing
  • Thomas Kippenbrock




post-traumatic stress disorder, critical incident stress, emergency medical services, helicopter emergency medical services, quality improvement


Background: The incidences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among critical care nurses, emergency room nurses, and paramedics range from 20 to 33%. PTSD is associated with a lower quality of life (QOL), occupational impairments, physical health decline, and increases the risk of premature death. Research supports prevention and surveillance measures for post-traumatic stress disorder in emergency medical service providers, but the practice is not routinely done.

Methods: A multi-purpose quality improvement project focused on educating transport crew members about PTSD. Other interventions emphasized anti-stigma lessons, resiliency assistance, and coping skills training. The pilot provided surveillance efforts, employed an early organizational PTSD recognition, and immediate debriefing for at-risk personnel at three Air Evac Lifeteam bases.

Results:  After the QI interventions, most crew members’ overall post-test PCL-5 scores were lowered by 12.5%. Another measure of the QI success was the Professional Quality of Life score improvement. Specially, the compassion satisfaction average level increased by 14% and the average burnout level decreased by of 15%.

Conclusions: The QI project demonstrated the transport  crew members’ well-being can be positively influenced by a PTSD prevention and surveillance program. These interventions offer a promising reduction in the prevalence of stress and PTSD. A nationwide practice change with these project interventions could improve the mental health of helicopter emergency medical personnel.

Author Biographies

Heather Dearing

Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner, 870-715-8192, Mercy Springfield, Springfield, MO 65804

Thomas Kippenbrock

Professor, University of Arkansas, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, Fayetteville, AR 70701, 479-877-9005 (Cell)


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How to Cite

Dearing, H., & Kippenbrock, T. (2022). Emergency Transport Crew: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Prevention Program. Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing, 45(1), E1-E7. https://doi.org/10.29173/cjen186