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Being a paramedic in regional Tasmania

What’s the best job in the world? Being a paramedic in regional Tasmania according to Lucy Oatley.

Brisbane-born Lucy Oatley is now a paramedic working on the north-west coast of Tasmania. She grew up in the middle of the Queensland city, but placement in her degree brought her to Tasmania, and she fell in love with it. As soon as an opportunity presented, she moved to Burnie, and she couldn’t be happier.

“We love the climate, the outdoor feeling of the place, and the food and wine culture,” said Lucy.

“I love that it’s by the water with great surf down the west coast, and on the doorstep of wild places like Cradle Mountain.”

The best job in the world

Lucy thinks that being a paramedic is the best job in the world, especially in a regional area.

“I like that we’re outside, I like that we’re talking to people, I like that every day is different and that anything could happen at any time.

“It’s also a privilege to be able to be there for people in some of the best and worst moments of their lives.”

The role of the paramedic has changed a lot in the last 15 years. Lucy said that it has become more integrated with the health service and less so with emergency services.

“We still attend car accidents and the big emergency call outs, but we also do a lot of care in the community. We transfer people between hospitals and manage more chronic and complex medical cases. University study has aligned us well with the health service,” she said.

Being a paramedic in a regional area

Lucy says that there is a more integrated approach to paramedicine in a regional area.

“In the city, you sometimes don’t get time to sit with your patient and talk to figure out the causes of their condition. In a regional area, you have more time. It’s further to hospitals so you can determine the problem.

“Because it is a smaller community, you get to know the nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and police officers well. You develop a level of trust with them. And when you know each other, you can work together a lot more efficiently.”

Hands-on study at UTAS

Lucy studied an in-house program in Hobart in her studies. Lucy got to learn from primary health care professionals, physician associates and emergency physicians. The program provided a breadth of knowledge across high end emergency management, physical exam and advanced diagnostic models.

While Lucy’s love of paramedicine grew out of being an “adrenaline junkie” growing up as a surf lifesaver, she gets more enjoyment now from problem-solving and the medical elements of the role.

Lucy hopes to progress to the intensive care program or extended care program, which her study at UTAS has prepared her well to do.

As the first postgraduate paramedic program to offer a dual specialization in extended care and intensive care, Lucy is well prepared to succeed in either arena.

“Intensive care is about high acuity jobs, managing very unwell people. You must have a graduate diploma or Master’s degree to go into this area.

“The masters at UTAS gives you the tools and the knowledge and teaches you how to be an effective leader, which is important”

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