Frontline nurses man up

Baldivis ambulance paramedic Bruce Wicksteed, fast-tracked to the healthcare coalface. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d402455
Baldivis ambulance paramedic Bruce Wicksteed, fast-tracked to the healthcare coalface. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d402455

Mr Wicksteed is one of six former nurses to qualify as part of Curtin University’s and St John Ambulance’s new graduate certificate in paramedicine.

For the past 17 years, Mr Wicksteed has worked as a nurse, most recently spending a decade at the daunting paediatric intensive care unit at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).

However, he said he wanted to work at the coalface of emergency health care.

‘I really wanted more of a challenge, to take my clinical skills outside of the hospital environment to a setting that was not controlled, more raw,’ he said.

‘It was a very intense and challenging course; the advantage is that you gain real-life experience from day one as you complete practical on-road assessments.’

The one-year certificate allows registered nurses with a minimum two years’ acute nursing experience to become paramedics.

Mr Wicksteed said the shift from working in a hospital to pre-hospital required an adjustment at first.

‘Discovering new ways of approaching clinical situations is exciting,’ he said.

‘You have to take into account not only your patient’s clinical condition but the myriad other variables that impact on him or her, like being trapped in a vehicle on its roof’