From call-outs to serious car crashes on remote outback highways to delivering babies in tropical Darwin…it’s all in a day’s work for paramedic Justin Blomeley.
When paramedicine becomes a nationally regulated profession on December 1, University of Tasmania graduate Justin Blomeley will be well placed. Under the changes, only people who are suitably trained and qualified can become registered with the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the National Board) to be able to lawfully call themselves a paramedic.
“National regulation is an important change for the profession. Having a formal and recognised qualification in paramedicine will assist in my career progression.”
Justin graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Paramedic Practice (Conversion) in 2016. The Conversion program is designed to help practicing paramedics like Justin upgrade their existing qualifications.
The University of Tasmania is at the forefront of paramedic education in Australia and my education has already opened many doors and opportunities for me.
“I was studying off-campus, more than 4000km away in a different time zone to the University, and juggling shift-work and a young family, but any problems I had were always handled with the highest level of professionalism from lecturers, coordinators and support staff.
Justin studied while working for St John Ambulance in the Northern Territory – in both Katherine and Darwin. Most recently, he completed a Graduate Diploma of Advanced Paramedicine (Specialisation) online with the University and he’s started a year-long Intensive Care Internship with St John.
“Because the Paramedicine course is within the College of Health and Medicine at UTAS, students are working on real cadavers – there is no other paramedic course in Australia where you get to do this. In fact, it’s rare to have this training anywhere in the world.”
“There are good simulation models out there, but to practice procedures like tracheal airway intubation on cadavers is more realistic.
Life as a paramedic in the outback of Katherine and the tropics of Darwin has its challenges and Justin admits, it’s not for everyone.
“It’s the tyranny of distance up here.
It keeps you on your toes. It can get remote quite quickly and there’s no-one just around the corner.
The graduate diploma specialisation combines both the Intensive Care Paramedic (ICP) and the Extended Care Paramedic (ECP) into one qualification.
“Its good to be able to get that next level of critical care training so, as I’m exposed to different scenarios, I can utilise those skills.
I like how the University’s focus is on critical thinking, not just learning procedures, because in remote locations you need to think quickly.
Heat, humidity, cyclones, floods, and lightning strikes all impact on the types of jobs paramedics in the Top End are called to.
“Unfortunately, the hardest call-outs are the motor vehicle crashes. Fatalities are over-represented in the Northern Territory.
Don’t get me wrong,there are plenty of positive experiences – just recently I was called to help deliver a baby in the bedroom of a Darwin home.