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Jacobsson, A., Backteman-Erlandson, S. & Egan Sjölander, A. (2020). Diversity, preventive work and education: matters of health and well-being in firefighter discourse. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 15(1), Article ID 1817661.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Diversity, preventive work and education: matters of health and well-being in firefighter discourse
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 15, no 1, article id 1817661Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of this study is to analyse how recurrent health hindrance themes in the firefighter discourse, identified by firefighters themselves, relate to a set of policies about diversity, preventive work and education of firefighters. The intention is further to discuss the implications of these policy initiatives and the resistance against them in terms of firefighters’ health and well-being at work.

Method: Firefighters from three different rescue stations in Sweden, participated in either a focus group discussion or individual interviews. Different themes in firefighter discourse that were described as hindrances to the health and well-being of firefighters were identified. A strategic sample of policy documents that relate to the very same themes was also chosen for analysis and here we combined critical discourse analysis (CDA) with critical policy analysis.

Results: The health hindrance themes regarding diversity, preventive work and education that firefighters identified have in common that they relate to changes in work culture and the firefighter profession.

Conclusion: In conclusion, we argue that the most important challenge for the rescue service to tackle in the future, is how to transform firefighting to be more inclusive and yet maintaining the good health and well-being that exists among the vast majority of today’s firefighters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2020
Keywords
Health, well-being, critical discourse analysis, firefighters, critical policy analysis, diversity, preventive work, education
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Nursing
Research subject
caring sciences in social sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147679 (URN)10.1080/17482631.2020.1817661 (DOI)000569410000001 ()32935645 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85091054034 (Scopus ID)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A., Backteman Erlandson, S., Brulin, C. & Egan Sjölander, A. (2020). Promoting and Hindering Health and Well-Being in Firefighter Discourse. SAGE Open, 10(4)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting and Hindering Health and Well-Being in Firefighter Discourse
2020 (English)In: SAGE Open, E-ISSN 2158-2440, Vol. 10, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this critical discourse analysis is to identify and discuss dominant and recurrent themes in firefighter discourse that promote and hinder firefighters' health and well-being. Using critical discourse analysis, the focus is directed toward routine work culture at the station, as well as how firefighters deal with extraordinary events. The empirical material was collected from rescue services in Sweden representing different geographical areas. In total, 28 firefighters participated in focus group discussions or individual interviews. We identified dominant themes in the discourse that promoted firefighters' health and well-being. We also identified recurrent themes that may serve as hindrances to health and well-being. We note that themes in the latter category also relate to changes in the profession and work culture, expressing external pressures on the rescue service. One reason for resistance toward change might be the health benefits that the current order of firefighter discourse brings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2020
Keywords
critical discourse analysis, firefighter, health, hindering health, promoting health, well-being, work culture
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-178409 (URN)10.1177/2158244020979170 (DOI)000599779300001 ()2-s2.0-85097444789 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-01-11 Created: 2021-01-11 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A. (2018). Exploring firefighters' health and wellbeing. (Doctoral dissertation). Umeå: Umeå universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring firefighters' health and wellbeing
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: This thesis supports the assumption that firefighters’ health and mental well-being is important, in order to cope with the stress that the profession implies. As health is an essential part of everyday life, it seems substantially to understand how an almost exclusively male workforce of firefighters construct their discourse in relation to health and well-being. The overall purpose of this thesis is to explore health and ill-health among firefighters in relation to their work environment, including coping strategies, critical incidents and ‘ordinary’ day-to-day work at the fire and rescue service station.

Methods: In Study I, 180 firefighters (16 women, 164 men) answered an open-ended question. Qualitative content analysis was used based on free text answers and focused on critical incidents. Study II, was based on a cross-sectional survey measuring burnout, psychosocial work environment and coping strategies. Participants were randomly selected and the final sample consisted of 476 firefighters (58 women, 418 men) and analyzed with multiple linear regression. In Study III and Study IV, a total of 28 fire-fighters (4 women and 24 men) participated in the study. Regarding Study IV a strategic sample of policy documents was also included. For Study III and IV, the research questions was dealt with applying critical discourse analysis on the focus group discussions (FGD) and individual interviews. In Study IV the analysed material also included policy documents.

Results: Findings from Study I were presented in four categories; ‘overwhelming critical situations’, ‘risks of delay, ‘risk of failure’ and ‘risks to oneself’. Women in Study I described their experiences in a more distanced account, while men described their experiences more vividly. Results from Study II showed overall low mean values in the burnout scales of emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP) among both women and men. Only 2 % of women and 1% of men scored high levels of EE, and only 2% of women and 3% of men scored high level of DP. A multiple linear regression showed that high demand and lack of social support contributed significantly to predicting EE among men. The coping strategies among firefighters influence the level of EE and DP, and these strategies were different between women and men. In Study III six dominant themes were identified. A strong sense of the firefighter community was articulated as health promoting. The physical exercise at work and the balance between emergency and station work were also two recurrent theme supporting firefighters’ health. Another health-promoting theme concerns clarity of roles among firefighters. Peer support and tolerance in the work group was another common theme, alongside with expressions of the firefighter as hero or helper. Themes described as hindrances to health and well-being in firefighters’ discourse were; diversity, preventive work and education. All hindrance themes were articulated as important struggles in the firefighter discourse against changes in work. In Study IV, we have identified two sides in the struggles, on the one hand we have the ‘insiders’, a majority of male firefighters working in the fire and rescue services representing a collective defending its autonomy and traditions. On the other hand we have the ‘outsiders’, represented by the government, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, (MSB), municipalities, politicians at different levels and academic researchers.

Conclusion: Firefighters described critical incidents at work as overwhelming situations, along with negative experiences of organizational and practical tasks. Despite these experiences firefighters were reported as healthy according to EE and DP (Study I and II). Results of Study II also showed a relationship between psychosocial work environment and burnout among men, but not among women. The coping strategies among firefighters influence the level of burnout, and these strategies differ between women and men. The well-being in firefighters’ discourse, at least partly, is gained from a strong sense of belonging to a homosocial group characterized by closeness to each other and peers who take care of each other. The firefighters in our studies articulate this community-sense, and describe the importance of the similarity, rather than diversity (Studies III and IV). Findings from our studies regarding health and well-being, add knowledge to the current explanations relating to firefighters’ resistance to change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2018. p. 64
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1963
Keywords
Firefighters, health, well-being, burnout, psychosocial work environment, coping strategies, critical incidents, experiences, discourse analysis, focus groups, focus group discussion
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Nursing
Research subject
caring sciences in social sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147637 (URN)978-91-7601-882-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-07, Vårdvetarhusets aula, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-16 Created: 2018-05-10 Last updated: 2018-09-20Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A., Backteman-Erlandson, S., Brulin, C. & Egan Sjölander, A. (2018). ’There is nothing wrong with diversity and equality as long as the right people are employed’. Promoting and hindering health in firefighter discourse. In: : . Paper presented at Conference in Nursing Research, Methods and Networks for the future, Oslo, Norway, June 13-15, 2018.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>’There is nothing wrong with diversity and equality as long as the right people are employed’. Promoting and hindering health in firefighter discourse
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152474 (URN)
Conference
Conference in Nursing Research, Methods and Networks for the future, Oslo, Norway, June 13-15, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-05 Created: 2018-10-05 Last updated: 2020-03-06Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A., Backteman-Erlandson, S., Padyab, M., Egan Sjölander, A. & Brulin, C. (2017). Burnout and association with psychosocial work environment among Swedish firefighters. Global Journal of Health Science, 9(5), 214-225
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Burnout and association with psychosocial work environment among Swedish firefighters
Show others...
2017 (English)In: Global Journal of Health Science, ISSN 1916-9736, E-ISSN 1916-9744, Vol. 9, no 5, p. 214-225Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Firefighters are exposed to traumatic and stressful psychosocial and physical strain in their work, and thus they are considered to be a group at high risk of burnout. The aim of this study was to investigate burnout (emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP) among Swedish female and male firefighters and to examine the gender-stratified relationship between psychosocial work environment and burnout when considering the moderating effect of coping strategies among Swedish firefighters. The overall mean values of both EE and DP were notably low in comparison with the general population in Sweden. We found that psychosocial work environment factors increase the risk of burnout among male firefighters. Among men, EE was associated with high demands and lack of social support in work. The association was also confirmed with DP as the outcome and lack of good leadership as the exposure among men. However, among female firefighters the association between psychosocial work environment factors and burnout failed to appear. Among women, EE and DP were only associated with the coping strategy Psychological distancing (PDi). A negative association with DP and the coping strategy Positive Reappraisal (PRe) was also found among women. Regardless of the result from the regression analyses, we must consider that the majority of the female and male firefighters in our study had low scores on the outcome variables EE and DP. Future studies should explore female and male firefighters' context and possible health-protecting environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Canadian Center of Science and Education, 2017
Keywords
burnout, coping strategies, firefighters, psychosocial work environment, Sweden
National Category
Nursing Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Caring Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-126032 (URN)10.5539/gjhs.v9n5p214 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-26 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A., Backteman-Erlanson, S., Brulin, C. & Hörnsten, Å. (2015). Experiences of critical incidents among female and male firefighters. International Emergency Nursing, 23(2), 100-104
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experiences of critical incidents among female and male firefighters
2015 (English)In: International Emergency Nursing, ISSN 1755-599X, E-ISSN 1878-013X, Vol. 23, no 2, p. 100-104Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: A critical incident is defined as an event stressful enough to overwhelm the usually effective coping skills of an individual. Firefighters are frequently exposed to critical incidents that might have consequences for individuals and their performance in organization. Aim: The aim of this study was to describe experiences of critical incidents among female and male Swedish firefighters. Method: In all 180 participants (16 women, 164 men) who had been involved in up to 25 critical incidents during the last year responded to a survey describing critical incidents experienced in the past year. A qualitative content analysis identified several areas for improvement in firefighters' working conditions. Results: Female firefighters were terse in describing their experiences, while the men described their experiences of critical events more vividly. The critical incidents described by the firefighters concerned such overwhelming situations as traffic accidents, huge fires, and other fatal incidents such as drownings and suicides. Risk of delay due to lack of equipment training and lack of medical education was mentioned. Lack of resources and organizational problems was mentioned as causing risks of failure. Several firefighters expressed frustration over being assaulted and threatened, or exposed to other kinds of violence. Not knowing how close, physically or mentally, one can get to people during ongoing rescue can lead to unsuccessful operations. Conclusions: Gender patterns should always be taken into account, making it possible for all firefighters to express and reflect on existentially tough experiences. Education needs to focus more on medical and mental health issues. Firefighters were sometimes exposed to the difficult challenge of violence and assault during rescue operations. The complexity of this problem needs to be highlighted, not only in firefighter organizations, but also in society in general. 

Keywords
Experiences, Critical incidents, Firefighters, Gender patterns, Content analysis
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106371 (URN)10.1016/j.ienj.2014.06.002 (DOI)000354139000011 ()25028063 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84926520903 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-07-15 Created: 2015-07-14 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Backteman-Erlanson, S., Jacobsson, A., Öster, I. & Brulin, C. (2011). Caring for traffic accident victims: the stories of nine male police officers. International Emergency Nursing, 19(2), 90-95
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Caring for traffic accident victims: the stories of nine male police officers
2011 (English)In: International Emergency Nursing, ISSN 1755-599X, E-ISSN 1878-013X, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 90-95Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Psychological strain due to the work environment is common, especially in those occupations which involve working in critical situations. Working as a police officer seems to increase the risk of psychological problems such as symptoms of stress and post traumatic stress disorders. The aim of this study was to describe male police officers’ experiences of traumatic situations when caring for victims of traffic accidents, and to reflect the results through the perspective of gender theories. Nine police officers were asked to narrate and reflect upon their experiences in taking care of people who had been severely injured in traffic accidents. The interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis. The findings are presented in three themes: “being secure with the support system”, “being confident about prior successful actions, and “being burdened with uncertainty”. The officers’ descriptions showed that most of them had strategies that they used when they were first responders, developed on the basis of their own knowledge and actions and the support systems in their organization which enabled them to act in traumatic situations. When support systems, knowledge, and actions were insufficient, they sometimes felt insecure and “burdened with uncertainty”. In this male-dominated context, there was a risk that the officers may not talk enough about traumatic situations, thus influencing their ability to cope successfully.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
Keywords
Police, Experiences, Traffic accidents, Content analysis, Stress, Coping, Gender
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39496 (URN)10.1016/j.ienj.2010.06.001 (DOI)2-s2.0-79953219043 (Scopus ID)
Note

Received 2 April 2010; revised 14 June 2010; accepted 25 June 2010. Available online 31 July 2010.

Available from: 2011-01-28 Created: 2011-01-28 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
Jacobsson, A.‘There is nothing wrong with diversity and equality as long as the right people are employed’. Promoting and hindering health and well-being in firefighter discourse.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘There is nothing wrong with diversity and equality as long as the right people are employed’. Promoting and hindering health and well-being in firefighter discourse
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Nursing
Research subject
caring sciences in social sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147678 (URN)
Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2018-06-09
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-0079-3816

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