Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech Communication

First Advisor

Bardhan, Nilanjana


Incongruent perceptions can exacerbate conflict situations with emotionally charged patients, family members, and bystanders when the paramedic is providing treatment to a critical patient. This bestows the paramedic with the responsibility of not only working to save the life of the patient, but also working to resolve conflicts that may constrain medical treatment. Therefore, in these situations, paramedics must have the communication skills that allow them to provide quality patient care. This phenomenon is investigated through a native anthropologist perspective by asking paramedics to give their personal accounts of conflicts they have had with emotionally charged stakeholders when treating a critical patient. These stories, depicted in this study, show how paramedics commonly use multiple conflict styles sequentially, in a matrix form, or concurrently to negotiate conflict situations. Findings have also shown that no one-conflict style is paramount, and the best choice of which conflict style to use is situational or an on the spot decision. Due to inadequate training, however, these decisions are found to be difficult for a paramedic who has not had extensive experience dealing with this type of conflict. Expert paramedic instructors corroborate this claim by attributing much of the lack of conflict ii training emphasis on algorithm style training that is related to curriculum standards and inexperienced instructors. Finally, this study finds paramedics who are inadequately trained, in conflict communication skills, have a tendency to make poor conflict style choices when conflicting with an emotionally charged stakeholder and can succumb to burn-out. This syndrome produces a loss of caring, thus putting the paramedic in a psychological position to make additional conflict style choices that are poor. The result is a paramedic who is inadvertently set up to cause a compromise in patient care.




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