Paramedicine students get to the chopper in surprise simulation scenario

“Best day ever,” says Olivia Holbert. “That is so cool.”

We’re standing on the campus plaza, watching Bendigo’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Service 3 land on the oval.

An emergency chopper is no doubt always a welcome sight when it’s needed, but this one was applauded for a different reason.

Third-year paramedicine students were taking part in what they thought was a regular simulated scenario – a young woman had fallen from a tree, with broken bones and wounds, with students as first responders.

“We just thought we were going to do one of Dave’s regular scenarios, I never expected this,” Olivia says.

The campus paramedicine team had gone above and beyond to surprise the students and make up for the losses of last year.

“Because of Covid these students weren’t able to go on placement last year, so this is the first real experience they’ve had with an outside organisation in an emergency response,” says Paramedicine Discipline Lead Susan Furness.

“What’s really surprising for me is the students’ response. They’re all so emotional, they’re excited but also so emotional.

“This is an opportunity for them to feel like they’re part of the ambulance field and not just in a class. This will inspire them to get through this year and into next year. I think it’s something they’ll remember forever – I certainly will.”

Lecturer David Burns says involving the HEMS team was a first for the campus. “What this is all about is achieving the strategic tactics and ambitions of the university,” he says.

“It’s about student experience, it’s about employability and providing a great experience that students can talk about when going for jobs. But most importantly it’s about them being exposed to the industry through our industry partners.” In this case, Ambulance Victoria.

Lecturer David Burns explains procedure.

Student Eliza Woodward met the HEMS paramedics on the oval and led them to the scene. “It’s just awesome,” she says. “As soon as I saw the helicopter coming I thought, is that for us? And then they came it was like, oh, they’re coming to the rescue. I was so amazed at how they took over, it was amazing.”

She says prior to the chopper landing the situation with the patient was getting stressful. “When you’re in a scenario, all your thoughts are, ‘how can I save this patient, what do I need to do and how do I do it?’ Sometimes you get quite flustered but once you get into it it’s like, this is what I need to do.”

She says today’s experience has cemented her goal to be at the coalface. “That this is what I want to do,” she says. “ I love this, it’s awesome.”

Student Eliza Woodward.

With thanks to the HEMS team for their commitment and dedication to student learning and support, to lecturer and MICA Paramedic Caroline and our amazing LRHS technicians for setting up such realistic patient injuries to fully immerse our students in a clinical situation.

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