Teamwork in novice ad-hoc first aid teams


  • Wilhelm Brodin Institutionen för Datavetenskap, Linköpings universitet



People close to accidents and catastrophes tend to give aid. When they act together, they spontaneously form ad-hoc teams with no previous experience in cooperating and varying degrees of knowledge and experience of providing crisis response. These teams voluntarily take on different tasks such as providing first aid, search and rescue of trapped injured people and transporting injured people to medical services. Teamwork is important in teams that work toward a common goal that is complex and interdependent. Teamwork would therefore be important for these teams, but little research has been done on the subject of teamwork in ad-hoc novice first aid teams.

Some of the work done suggests that implicit communication of expertise could be more likely due to the limited available time and that leadership roles are ambiguous in these teams. Learning by doing and communicating expertise is proposed to drive the coordination trough action.  Leadership and membership of these teams are also described as fleeting and the work as improvised. Lacking from the field are studies investigating how the coordination and the assignment of leadership actually occur in these teams and what effect it has on the effectiveness on the aid provided. Such research could bridge the gap between understanding the teams acting in a crisis and the current educational efforts of first aid skills.

The current PhD-project aims to investigate facilitative factors of teamwork and leadership in ad-hoc novice first aid teams. The proposed method of investigation is simulated scenarios where novice immediate responders provide aid to simulated injured patients in an austere environment. A mixed analysis method is proposed including both statistical analyses to find general trends of successful teamwork and multimodal interaction analysis to describe the specifics of communicative processes for successful coordination and leadership. The results of the project are expected to add to the knowledge on how teamwork in first aid-teams takes place and to provide knowledge for future educational efforts.