Ambulance Vic make use of Paramedicine students and campus facilities to meet pandemic care needs

Ambulance Victoria Regional Director Trevor Weston says by the end of the fortnight, Ambulance Vic will have hundreds of new staff to aid in the growing pandemic care load. “And the majority of them are either from other emergency services or they’re students,” he says.

To help meet workforce demand, the Bendigo Campus has offered our clinical facilities as a training space for local recruits.

As such, AV paramedics were on campus this week training four La Trobe students who have answered the workforce call, including Steph Chong and Darby Pumpa, pictured below.

“It’s just a fantastic opportunity during COVID to build my practical clinical skills and to work with other clinicians,” says fourth-year student Steph. “Not many students have had the opportunity to get into the workforce like this.

“We’ll be helping at the hospital, doing basic vital signs, and making sure patients are on track, and we’ll also be in the field with paramedics, in the vehicle, supporting and providing assistance.”

Third-year student Darby says his appointment will mean a very different summer uni break ahead.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to get my foot in the door and working during uni holidays will be a good way to stay in touch with my skills and keep up-to-date,” he says.

“We’re going to be working with ALS (Advanced Life Support) paramedics, which will be a great experience.”

During the training session paramedics were throwing the students challenges and testing their knowledge of life-saving equipment.

Darby says it’s been a good refresher of what’s been covered in his studies. “It’s confirming everything we’ve been doing in the last three years, absolutely.”

Lecturer David Burns says it’s a proud moment for staff to see students put their hands up to be at the coalface of pandemic care.

“It’s just fantastic that they’re applying for jobs in a really difficult time – it’s no picnic working for Ambulance Victoria right now, it’s very busy, difficult and complex work,” he says.

Trevor Weston confirmed that reality, adding, “In the Loddon Mallee, thankfully, we haven’t seen the worst of it like the situation in the city, but it’s coming and it’s just horrendous, so these student paramedics are really important.

“From what I’ve seen here, their skills are exceptional, to be honest. We’re very fortunate with the calibre of student paramedics coming out of our universities. It’s much better than it was years ago, and it’s notable.”

He says the La Trobe facilities are also world-class, and a real benefit to be using for the training.

“We’re looking forward to doing more work together,” he says.

David adds; “If Ambulance Victoria needs our support and facilities, we’re happy to help in any way we can, because we’re all in this together.”

Ambulance Victoria Regional Director Trevor Weston and Paramedicine lecturer David Burns on campus.

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