Research in the field

February 2022

Since expanding grant eligibility to all emergency healthcare professionals providing direct clinical care, EMF has supported research driven by nurses, allied health, ambulance and retrieval staff.

In 2021, EMF funded a second paramedic-led research project and hopes more will follow.

During a medical emergency, ambulance and retrieval services work hand in hand with hospital emergency department (ED) clinicians, stabilising and transporting patients for urgent treatment.

Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is often first on the scene to assess those with severe head injuries and paramedics play a significant role in preventing secondary brain injury.

EMF grant recipient Wayne Loudon spoke with QAS Insight about his EnTRAIN project investigating whether EEG (electroencephalogram) can help paramedics identify severe head injuries early.

The High Acuity Response Unit (HARU) Brisbane team will perform EEG acquisition for the project.

“There is some evidence to show brain swelling and bleeding can be identified on EEG and we may be able to change how we treat people according to those changes, and of course we would be able to identify if patients are suffering any seizure activity after their head injury,” Wayne told Insight.


Wayne follows in the footsteps of Hugo Evison, the first paramedic to receive an EMF grant in 2019.

Hugo’s collaborative study with Gold Coast University Hospital, compared the proportion of peripheral intravenous cannulation (PIVC) in pre-hospital and ED settings that remain unused. The researchers aimed to better understand clinical decision making involved in PIVC insertion.

The project is now complete, and Hugo described the impact of his Jumpstart grant.

“Collaborations and relationships have been built, opportunities that may not have presented without support from EMF and have opened pathways for my professional development,” he said.


As well as supporting research pathways, EMF prioritises projects with the potential to improve clinical care.

This includes a study led by QAS Deputy Medical Director and emergency physician Dr Daniel Bodnar that led to changes in pre-hospital care of trauma patients at risk of bleeding to death.

The researchers sought to identify at risk patients early, allowing life-saving treatment to commence enroute to hospital, followed by rapid intervention on arrival.

HARU team members analysed blood from patients in the field and found a simple blood test on a portable machine could more accurately diagnose clotting problems than clinical scores.

Following the study, QAS updated clinical guidelines and incorporated the portable machine in HARUs. Dr Bodnar, who also works in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital ED, described the importance of clinician-led research.

“Research led by clinicians on the frontline tackles problems or questions faced by other clinicians. These are often the things discussed in tea rooms rather than in big academic centres. EMF support allows clinicians a chance of completing research in a topic that matters to them, and very likely resonates with their peers,” said Dr Bodnar.

With multiple grant opportunities available, including Emerge for novice researchers, EMF encourages paramedics that are ready to develop new research skills to get in touch.


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