Connecting the dots between physical demands, physical employment testing and physical fitness in a paramedicine context

Sandy MacQuarrie, Sam Sheridan, Renee MacPhee (Panel member), Steve Fischer (Panel member)

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


PURPOSE: The purpose of this panel discussion is to initiate a much-needed conversation regarding the physical demands, physical employment testing, and physical fitness for the paramedic role in Australia and internationally. METHODS: A panel discussion aimed at ‘connecting the dots’ will take a deep dive into previous and current research and practical work being conducted internationally and across Australian jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional ambulance services. Through four proposed speakers the following topics will be discussed: 1) Paramedic health and fitness; 2) Physical demands of the role; 3) What’s the impact; and 4) Standards, testing and implementation. RELEVANCE: Physical fitness, health, and the performance of physical tasks safely and efficiently are closely linked. For paramedics, Australia’s existing pre-employment physical fitness assessments are not standardised across jurisdiction and non-jurisdictional ambulance services and settings. These assessments frequently do not directly relate to the physical demands of the paramedic role and daily tasks performed. There is increasing evidence supportive of the need for standardised and requisite minimum levels of fitness; however, the development and establishment of the standards cannot be done without first determining the physical demands of essential tasks performed by Australian paramedics through a comprehensive Physical Demands Analysis. Current registration requirements for paramedics, set by the regulatory agencies, include professional standards that appear vague regarding physical fitness, but note that maintenance of physical and mental health is required of paramedics. The significant rates of illness and injury in Australian paramedics indicate systematic analysis of the role and, on that basis, introduction of evidence-based pre-employment physical fitness assessment standards are needed. Physically prepared paramedics, along with validated physical fitness assessments and physical employment standards are vital to paramedic physical health, safety, and efficient provision of high-quality patient care and increased patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2023
EventThe 4th International Physical Employment Standards Conference 2023 - Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 24 Feb 202326 Feb 2023
Conference number: 4th (Book of abstracts)


ConferenceThe 4th International Physical Employment Standards Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleTheory, testing and training
CityGold Coast
OtherHosted by the Bond University Tactical Research Unit the conference will address the three T's essential to supporting physical performance in physically demanding occupations; Theory, Testing and Training. Specific topics will include physical employment standards, identifying and mitigating injury risk factors, physical conditioning and assessing occupational readiness.

The conference content will be a blend of research and applied practice in a range of physically demanding occupations including military, law enforcement, fire and rescue and first responders.
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