Emergency care education in south africa and the unique requirement of physical preparedness: A scoping review

Dagmar Muhlbauer, Craig Vincent-Lambert, Yoga Coopoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction The Bachelor of Health Sciences Degree in Emergency Medical Care (BEMC) is a unique program in that students operate in both emergency care and rescue contexts, unlike international paramedic degree programs which focus only on emergency care. The learning activities associated with the rescue content are physically strenuous and therefore BEMC students need to be physically and mentally prepared to engage in diverse austere environments. Although South African BEMC programs have a common medical rescue curriculum, approaches to the training and assessment of physical preparedness vary between the institutions. The objective of this research was to explore the knowledge gap through the review of literature that describes the unique physical preparedness requirements in the field of emergency care education. Methods We conducted a scoping review in the form of a narrative literature review. Results Seventy-five (n) articles were initially identified, however, only four were relevant to the objective of this study. This highlighted the paucity of literature describing the unique physical fitness requirements of the BEMC program and the current challenges experienced by educators in the field. Conclusion While physical preparedness training exists in higher education institutes and there are assessments conducted at these higher education institutes, none of these assessment tools have yet been scientifically validated which creates a challenge for educators. The current knowledge gap within EMC education is therefore the absence of a scientifically validated task-oriented physical preparedness assessment tool which addresses the desired physical attributes and abilities of EMC students linked to the BEMC curriculum and associated learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralasian Journal of Paramedicine
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2021


  • Emergency medical care
  • Fitness for duty
  • Occupational fitness
  • Paramedic
  • Physical fitness
  • Physical performance
  • Physical tasks
  • Physical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency Nursing


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