“Trauma Junkies” and Street Work — Journal of Contemporary Ethnography Occupational Behavior of Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians Abstract Paramedics and emergency medical technicians develop a need for role validation associated with ambulance runs that call forth advanced lifesaving, rescue, and medical skills. Metaphorically, this need turns paramedics into “trauma junkies,” because answering calls involving multiple casualties, physical trauma, and fast-paced action becomes the “real” work of emergency medical services personnel. Calls evoking less sophistication of response behavior are devalued. Within an occupational milieu of excitement, danger, and public attention, paramedics perform a variety of roles constituting street work similar to that documented for police officers.
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