Can undergraduate paramedic students accurately estimate a patient’s weight? – A Short Report

Brett Williams, Malcolm Boyle



Accurate estimation of a patient’s (adult and paediatric) weight is an important skill for paramedics. The patient’s weight is often required for calculating medication dosages, correct sizing for equipment, defibrillation, and other invasive procedures. Only three previous studies have been located examining paramedic’s ability to estimate a patient’s weight. The objective of the study was to identify if undergraduate paramedic students could accurately estimate weight in selected patients.


A prospective single-blinded observational pilot study requiring students to estimate the weight of seven selected patients (adult and paediatric).


The findings highlighted large variations in students’ ability to accurately estimate a patient’s weight. The majority of patient weights were underestimated by undergraduate students. These results highlight the difficulties students have estimating patient’s weight.


Results from this pilot study have identified considerable variation in students’ ability to accurately estimate a patient’s weight. The results provide teaching staff with feedback to incorporate into the curriculum.

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Australasian College of Paramedicine © 2020                           ISSN: 2202-7270


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