This article focuses on the physiological, emotional and behavioural response that is fear and considers how it impacts clinical practice. It may have some benefits; for example, the release of the stress hormone cortisol which can increase cognitive function and short-term memory improving information handling. Equally, it poses significant risks, such as loss of perspective, damage to clinician-patient rapport and information bias. The author considers how fear can affect the individual response to a threatening situation in the prehospital care environment and explores ways in which it can be managed.
Kate Snowdon -