This qualitative study aimed at exploratory describe ambulance staff’s perceptions of patients
with mental illness and how they view their role when attending these cases. Ten employees
within the ambulance participated in the study and semi-structured interviews were used in
collecting data. Thematic analysis was used for analyzing data. From the analysis three main
themes that narrate ambulance staff’s perceptions of patients with mental illness were created.
The first theme was The challenge in facing patients with mental illness. The theme has three
sub-themes, Valuable attributes and abilities, The encounter and treatment and Staff’s safety.
The second main theme, Frustration and feelings of insufficiency, includes two sub-themes,
The inaccessible care and The need for knowledge. The third main theme The perceptions of
the assignment and the patient includes no sub-themes but stands on its own.
In the stories of ambulance staff’s perceptions of patients with mental illness it’s made visible
how the role of the ambulance staff, when attending these cases, becomes the one of a fellow
creature before the patient and a negotiator before other organisations. Aspects that cause
barriers for nursing in these situations are also highlighted, like an inaccessible psychiatric
care and different approaches within the ambulance.