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PARA104 Foundations of Paramedic Practice or PARA115 Fundamentals of Paramedicine Care

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Paramedicine is a dynamic and demanding profession. The paramedic profession experiences a high occurrence of physical injury and altered mental health. Paramedics work in a variety of situations that require personal strength, physical fitness and mental resilience. In order to maintain physical, mental, emotional and biophysical well-being, the paramedic should possess an in-depth knowledge of concepts and principles of exercise science, health and well-being and be able to integrate these principles into practice associated with the maintenance of personal health.

This unit integrates principles of health science, exercise science and the biopsychosocial model of health to the well-being of the paramedic practitioner throughout the life span. Biomechanical principles will be related to manual handling and manutention in paramedic practice with the aim of personal injury risk minimisation. The spiritual and emotional health of the paramedic will also be explored.

The aim of this unit is to assist students to achieve an advanced knowledge of health, exercise science, mental health and biomechanical principles in order to and enhance the professional well-being of the paramedic practitioner.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Define components of physical fitness and concepts of nutrition and develop fitness and training programs and appropriate diet plans suitable for the specific health needs of Paramedics (GA5)

LO2 - Describe physical training and nutritional needs of paramedics (GA5)

LO3 - Identify health risks to the paramedic practitioner (GA2, GA4) 

LO4 - Integrate concepts and techniques drawn from the biopsychosocial model of health to improve paramedic practitioner health (GA5, GA7)

LO5 - Discuss the relationship between spiritual and emotional health and the general health of the paramedic practitioner throughout the life span (GA2, GA4)

LO6 - Demonstrate correct manual handling and manutention techniques for paramedic practice (GA5, GA7)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

Paramedicine Board of Australia Professional Capabilities for Registered Paramedics

Website of capabilities:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 3.3, 5.3


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.3


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 5.3


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 5.3


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 5.3


1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.3



Topics will include:

  • Physical fitness and training for the paramedic practitioner
  • Body systems contributing to functional movement and physical activity
  • Biomechanics of human movement
  • Measuring and analysing human movement and fitness
  • Components of health and physical fitness
  • Physiological capacities of the body
  • Psychological responses to exercise and physical training
  • Functional movement outcomes
  • Principles of fitness and training programs
  • Functional movement and physical activity appropriate to the needs of a paramedic
  • The effects of shift work on physical fitness and physical training
  • The effects of work and fatigue on body biomechanisms
  • Nutrition for paramedic practice
  • Principles of nutrition appropriate to the needs of a paramedic
  • Nutrition for an active lifestyle
  • Metabolic health and maintaining optimal weight
  • Diet and the shift worker
  • Mental health of the paramedic practitioner
  • Biopsychosocial model of health
  • Mental health profile of the paramedic industry
  • Managing the effects of shiftwork on sleep
  • The stress process, risk minimisation and the management of the stress process
  • Manual handling and manutention in paramedic practice
  • Principles of biomechanics and kinetics
  • Manutention principles 
  • Risk minimisation and risk management 
  • Dynamic risk assessment in paramedic practice
  • Manual handling postures and tasks
  • Manutention and paramedic equipment

Specific Skills

  • Physical fitness assessment and evaluation
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Cardio-respiratory requirements
  • Body composition
  • Physical training program planning and implementation
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Cardio-respiratory
  • Manual handling and manutention in paramedic practice
  • Communication in moving patients
  • Manual handling postures and actions
  • Lift minimisation 
  • Patient lifting, lifting devices and extrication techniques
  • Dynamic risk assessment and scene safety
  • Movement within an ambulance vehicle and confined spaces

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, tutorials, practical laboratories, online activities and self-directed study. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with advanced knowledge and skills relevant to professional paramedic practice. These strategies will also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers. 

Located in the third/final year of the programme, this unit includes some face-to-face teaching hours during which case scenarios are used to assist students in linking theory with practice. Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles while tutorials and computer assisted learning deliver interactive learning sessions which assist students in applying the theory to practice while also providing an opportunity to consolidate knowledge and implement theoretical concepts. Students will be presented with a selection of case scenarios during in-class activities that will guide the learning of the unit. 

These assessments are required to build student knowledge which, by the conclusion of this programme, will allow the student to graduate as a safe and effective paramedic.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.   

Third/final year sees the students continue their transition toward professional practice. The personal health management plan engages final year students with their pending professional working environment and the maintenance of personal health and well-being. The Discussion Portfolio evaluates knowledge and understanding critical to practitioner health and well-being. The on-line quiz evaluates knowledge and understanding of theory and practice required for the maintenance of the health of the practitioner.

These assessments are required to build student knowledge which, by the conclusion of this programme, will allow the student to graduate as a safe and effective paramedic.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Personal Health Management Plan (1,600 words)

Enables students to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner ensuring that documentation meets the professional, biophysical and mental health requisites for practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Online Quiz

Enables students to demonstrate overall knowledge and understanding of content in the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Discussion Portfolio (1,600 words)

Enables students to achieve sound communication skills and to demonstrate a profound understanding of key issues in in practitioner health.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Acevedo, E. O.(2012).The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology | Oxford Academic ( . New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Barkway, P. (Ed.) (2013). Psychology for health professionals. (2nd ed.).Chatswood, N.S.W: Churchill Livingstone.

Hassmén, P.,  Keegan, R., & Piggott, D. (2016). Rethinking Sport and Exercise Psychology Research: Past, Present and Future | SpringerLink   London : Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Lox, C., Martin Ginis, K.A., & Petruzzello, S.J. (2014). The psychology of exercise: integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). Scottsdale, Ariz: Holcomb Hathaway Publishers. 

Marieb, E.N., & Hoehn, K. (2016). Human anatomy and physiology (10th Global ed. ). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V.L. (2016) Essentials of exercise physiology (5th ed.). 

Philadelphia : Wolters Kluwer.

Sanders, M. J. (2012). Mosby’s paramedic textbook (4th ed.). St Louis, MO.: Mosby.

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