Steven Fischer, Renee MacPhee
Each and every day, paramedics work tirelessly to provide care and support to hundreds of thousands of individuals across our country. Over time, the physical and mental demands of that work can take its toll on their health and wellbeing, jeopardizing their readiness-for-duty. Recent evidence from the Canadian Paramedic Health and Wellness Project¹ demonstrates that paramedics report energy levels that are more than 20% lower than the general Canadian population.
Helping to care for the paramedics who care for us!
PSHSA, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University have teamed up to develop cutting-edge resources to support our paramedics in maintaining their health, wellbeing and readiness-for-duty. Resources including the Ready for Duty eLearning series and Ready for Duty mobile app, powered by Performance Redefined, offer evidence-based guidance, support, tools and strategies to help paramedics improve and maintain their health and wellbeing in the face of difficult job demands.
Ready-for-Duty eLearning Series
The eLearning series provides learners with an opportunity to strengthen their health and wellbeing knowledge. Each module includes information, resources and strategies to support paramedics in maintaining or improving their health and wellbeing. Perhaps most importantly, each module includes a personal story shared by a frontline paramedic about the importance of focusing on their health and wellness to help maintain and sustain their readiness-for-duty.
Armed with a stronger foundational understanding and guided by embedded resources, paramedics will be empowered to build and strengthen positive habits to maintain or even improve their health and wellbeing. Other public safety personnel, such as police officers and correctional officers, may also benefit from this eLearning series. While some paramedics may already have a lot of knowledge and personal experience with self-care and wellbeing strategies, there may be some that do not. This eLearning series provides free, evidence-informed resources to equip paramedics and other public safety personnel with foundational knowledge and understanding of the 4 key pillars for performance: nutrition, mindset, recovery and movement.
By completing this eLearning series, learners will:
- understand the elements of health and wellness and their impacts on paramedic wellness and career longevity;
- develop self-awareness of personal health and wellness habits; and,
- begin to develop long-term, sustainable strategies to maintain and enhance health and wellness.
The complete eLearning series consists of the following 6 modules:
- Introduction: An overview of the 4-pillar model for paramedic performance.
- Nutrition: Fueling for work and life demands.
- Recovery: Repair and rejuvenation from mental and physical work.
- Movement: Capacity and movement competency for work in paramedicine.
- Mindset: Mental preparation and readiness for positive health behaviour change.
- Performance: Integrating fundamentals from each pillar to sustain a happy and healthy career in paramedicine.
Ready for Duty (R4D) App
Powered by Performance Redefined, the R4D app includes high-quality video examples to help you adopt safe and effective, movement-centric resistance training exercise. The app, now available for Apple and Android, coupled with the Movement eLearning module, will help paramedics and other public safety personnel plan and conduct effective, movement focused fitness sessions. Adopting a “train movements, not muscles” philosophy, the library includes exercises to improve strength and power through principal movements including pushing, pulling, hip hinging, lunging, and squatting. App users can easily access important movement coaching keys, save custom workouts, or access one of three pre-defined workouts to get started.
Why does movement matter? Our research shows that paramedics who generate more work from the lower body when lifting experience lower loading on their spine². Our evidence also shows that those who complete routine strength and conditioning perform better³.
Get started today. Make movement matter. Make exercise matter. #ReadyForDuty
For more information about the Ready for Duty eLearning series and mobile app, contact Shannon Hunt, Director of Multi-Channel Content Delivery at PSHSA at email@example.com.
Associate Professor & Director, Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Lab
University of Waterloo
Associate Professor & Executive Director - Ottawa Paramedic Physical Abilities Test (OPPAT)
Wilfrid Laurier University
¹ Fischer SL, MacPhee RS. Canadian Paramedic health and wellness project: Workforce profile and health and wellness trends. DRDC-RDDC-2017-C295. November 2017. 62 Pages.
² Makhoul P, Sinden KE, MacPhee RS, Fischer SL. (2017). Relative contribution of lower body work as a biomechanical determinant of spine sparing technique during common paramedic lifting tasks. Applied Biomechanics, 33, 137-143.
³ Armstrong DP, Sinden KE, Sendsen J, MacPhee RS, Fischer SL. (2019). Evaluating the effect of a strength and conditioning program to improve paramedic candidates’ physical readiness for duty. Work.