Investigating the impact of NSW Ambulance's MedicFit workplace exercise program

Kirsty Smith, Janelle Wheat, Janelle Thomas, Jayden Hunter, Alexander MacQuarrie, Samantha Sheridan

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


What is the question I am to hoping to answer in undertaking the research (research question)?
If a 6-month workplace exercise program (MedicFit) improves fitness and decreases work-related injury rates in paramedics, and whether personal support from a health coach throughout the program achieves greater improvements in fitness and reduced workplace injury rates compared to no support and a non-exercise control group.

Why is it important to answer this question (rationale)?
Current research shows paramedics are at higher risk of receiving a workplace injury than other occupations. This study will be the first to examine the effects on injury rates of a workplace exercise program for paramedics.

What does the existing literature say about this problem?
Recent research on firefighters shows that lower fitness levels increases the risk of injury compared to fitter individuals. While there is much research about the value of workplace exercise programs, this has never been examined within the paramedic population. Additionally, health coach support, which has been proven to be effective in non-workplace exercise programs, has never been examined within a workplace exercise program.

Outline of study design
Stations will be randomly allocated into three groups for this randomised control trial:
1: undertaking MedicFit with support from a health coach;
2: undertaking MedicFit without health coach support;
3: control group not participating in MedicFit.

Prior to commencing the MedicFit program, all participants will undertake fitness tests and questionnaires. Groups 1 and 2 will then undertake the MedicFit program for 6 months, whilst participants in Group 3 do not undertake any workplace exercise program. After 6 months all participants will repeat the fitness tests and questionnaires, and Groups 1 and 2 will complete a
program evaluation.

Who are the participants, how will I recruit them and how many will I need? What data am I collecting from them and how will I collect it?
We aim to recruit 150 paramedics from all 36 NSW Ambulance stations in Western NSW. We will collect:
• Fitness test results, at baseline and 6 months, for 5 standard tests
• Questionnaire responses, at baseline and 6 months, to 4 standardised tools
• Program evaluation for Group 1 and 2 participants
• Basic demographic details
• Pre-exercise screening tool responses
• Adherence to MedicFit program
• Historical and current injury rates from NSWA.

All tests and questionnaires will be administered by a qualified exercise professional.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017
EventWestern NSW Health Research Network (WHRN) Symposium - School of Rural Health, Orange, Australia
Duration: 16 Aug 201717 Aug 2017 (Symposium information)


ConferenceWestern NSW Health Research Network (WHRN) Symposium
OtherResearchers and health professionals will attend a major conference focussing on rural health in Orange in August.
The Western NSW Health Research Network will hold its annual research conference on August 16-17 at the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health on the corner of Acacia Way and Canobolas Drive.
WHRN chairperson, Associate Professor Catherine Hawke said the conference promoted locally-generated health research and encouraged communication between researchers and the community.
Internet address


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  • Best Colloquium Abstract

    Smith, K. (Recipient), Wheat, J. (Recipient), Thomas, J. (Recipient), Hunter, J. (Recipient), MacQuarrie, A. (Recipient), Sheridan, S. (Recipient) & High, R. (Recipient), 16 Aug 2017

    Prize: External prize

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