A Phenomenological Study of Customs and Border Protection Officers’ Perspectives and Their Influence on Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the major agency regulating commerce and travel in the United States. Although one of its primary foci is intercepting illicit goods and people, it also provides another important public service—responding to medical situations when encountered. Customs and Border Protection has employees who are also emergency medical technicians though this number is small. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the motivational factors for Customs and Border Protection officers who are also emergency medical technicians. The theoretical framework for this study was based on self-determination theory. A purposeful sample was used to recruit participants for in-depth interviews. Although there are emergency medical technicians in other states and other components of Customs and Border Protection, this study only focused on officers working in California. Results from this study revealed three motivating factors and five benefits for participants. The researcher also discovered people’s lack of knowledge of EMS within Customs and Border Protection as a major challenge for participants. The researcher recommended basic education explaining what EMS encompasses in Customs and Border Protection and raising awareness of its benefits. This study can be expanded by conducting similar studies with other components and states in Customs and Border Protection to determine whether there are similar results. In turn, this study can be used to improve the agency’s response to medical situations.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Public Health