In the master’s thesis, I deal with the professional stress and psychosocial support of firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. Firstly, in the theoretical part, I present stress in an individual’s life, stress and burnout at the working position, and professional stress of these assistance providers. I also present specifics of each of these professions in more detail and how individual situations influence the emergence of stress. I mention individual types of stress and various stressors which influence the emergence of stress in an individual. I also present the symptoms which indicate that an individual is under the influence of stress and when it is necessary to seek medical help in treating these symptoms. Because of the fact that firefighters, paramedics, and police officers witness traumatic events on many occasions, I focus on trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in the theoretical part.
The existing form of psychosocial support of firefighters, paramedics, and police officers, and its significance and role in strengthening positive strategies of coping with the stressful and traumatic situation, and in reducing initial stressful reaction which occurs because of the traumatic event, are all in the forefront of the master’s thesis. In the thesis, I present organizational and personal factors which influence the emergence of stress in the employees in these professions, and I propose the measures for reducing its consequences.
In the qualitative research, I present the findings of the three focus groups with the representatives of these professions. In the research, I studied the factors in the working position of the firefighters, paramedics, and police officers which influence stress detection in addition to interventions. These factors are working hours, management, relationships, shift work, and education. I was also interested in possible differences in the existing models of psychosocial support and differences between these three professional groups in sensing stressful events and the types of interventions which they intervene in. For the participants in all three professional groups those interventions are the most stressful, where children and their acquaintances/relatives are involved, and interventions which resulted in death. For the police officers, especially stressful interventions are those where domestic violence is involved.
During the research, I realized that most of the participants did not yet use the offered psychosocial assistance and support, even though they detect the consequences of stress at work and in the domestic environment. Because of the tabooization of the psychosocial support, the participants have various proposals in order to alter this field, such as the operational ability of the providers of the psychosocial support, the increased presence of confidants, and warmer attitude of psychologists and other performers of psychosocial support.
The purpose of the master’s thesis was to study stress in the work of firefighters, paramedics, and police officers in more detail, as it deserves a special discussion because of being very specific. Firefighters, paramedics, and also police officers expressed the pressure of the public in their responses. They feel this pressure while being on interventions, as the public expects from them to solve everything in every single moment. Citizens see these assistance providers mostly through their assistance role. All too little we realize that they can also be invisible victims of accidents.