Emergency care education in South Africa and the unique requirement of physical preparedness: A scoping review


emergency medical care
physical fitness
physical performance
physical tasks
occupational fitness
fitness for duty
physical training

How to Cite

Muhlbauer D, Vincent-Lambert C, Coopoo Y. Emergency care education in South Africa and the unique requirement of physical preparedness: A scoping review . Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2021Jul.4 [cited 2023Feb.6];18. Available from: https://ajp.paramedics.org/index.php/ajp/article/view/878



The Bachelor 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.


We conducted a scoping review in the form of a narrative literature review.


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.


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.



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