Messiness and Complexity: a case study exploring student paramedics’ voyages in navigating uncertainty

Doy, Rosie (2022) Messiness and Complexity: a case study exploring student paramedics’ voyages in navigating uncertainty. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2022DoyRosemaryEdD .pdf]
Download (2MB) | Preview


This thesis explores the real-world practice experiences of student paramedics during their developmental journey when facing ambiguous and complex psychosocial patient scenarios. In paramedic practice, the risk assessment and management terrain is changing from clear-cut decision-making to uncertain and person-centered, rather than procedure-centered approaches. Although the concept and preparation of students for uncertainty around decision-making has been explored, particularly in medicine, the perspective and peregrinations of paramedic students through their own narratives has not featured in the literature. The thesis explores this relatively uncharted aspect of practice with one cohort of paramedic students on the first, degree level programme at university.

A longitudinal case study approach was combined with narrative enquiry methodology drawing on social constructivism and phenomenology. The case explored multiple realities of student learning/development and how individual students learn and make sense of their experiences. The case study approach offered the structure for the study, and narrative enquiry enabled the exploration of patterns of meaning, and the cherishing of individual stories. Data was collected from twelve students: eight in-depth one to one semi-structured interviews were undertaken with students at two different points in their programme, and a focus group comprising four other learners was convened. The data was analysed using in vivo and dramaturgical coding.

What surfaced was the recurrence of powerful plotlines and scenarios around uncertainty with four entwined crossbeams supporting the students in managing uncertainty and developing as confident practitioners and decision-makers. These were experiential learning, collaborative conversations, role of the mentor as coach in supporting reflection, and in developing emotion management. The thesis recommends ways to better prepare students for uncertainty whilst enhancing their development of adaptive expertise.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: James Tweddle
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2022 15:37
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 15:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item