Patients a virtue for new paramedic

St John Ambulance paramedic Shelley Smith.
St John Ambulance paramedic Shelley Smith.

‘I never know what’s waiting for me around the corner, so even the most mundane jobs are challenging and interesting in their own way,’ the 23-year-old Woodvale resident said.

‘I have always been very hands-on and interested in looking after people, so being a paramedic is all I’ve ever wanted to do.’

Ms Smith said she enjoyed interacting with patients and helping put their minds at ease.

‘I really like people like the last patient we had, who are really chatty and really friendly, especially the ones who want to tell their life stories,’ she said.

‘You get this really quick, intimate look into people’s lives and then we get to the hospital and it’s very suddenly: ‘Alright, bye, nice chatting to you, good luck’.

‘There isn’t one trick to make patients feel at ease. I like to tell people what I am going to do first. They’re already scared and stressed, so being poked and prodded isn’t going to help that. It’s better to reassure them what’s going on.’

Despite achieving some of the highest rated feedback in the first nine months on the road, Ms Smith said she was faced with challenges every day.

‘For instance, our first job this morning was burns and I hadn’t experienced that before,’ she said.

‘On the way to the job I was going over everything I had learnt in college and thinking: ‘How am I meant to apply that?’.

‘I’ve been lucky because I’ve had some really challenging jobs early on. It was a bad thing at the time but being pushed in the deep end has probably helped me in the long run.’