Healthwise Paramedic

Darren Lester thinks being a Paramedic is a great career path for Indigenous people because he believes they are natural care takers - why not put their natural talents to work whilst getting paid for it!

'Healthwise' is an event aimed at providing careers information and some hands-on experience to young people, in particular, aged 13-19 in the health care industry. This event is aimed directly at young Indigenous Australians and is the first of its kind.

At 'Healthwise', students have a chance to meet and speak one-on-one with health industry professionals, map out career paths, see and experience various activities within the health sector - all in the setting of one of RPA Hospital. ‘Healthwise’ also involves an address and custom made video, a Q&A panel with industry professionals, and an expo to allow students to ask questions and experience what it is like to work in health services.

There are a myriad of industry departments involved: Sydney South West Area Health Service; AIG; NSW Ambulance Service, and RPA Hospital.

About Darren Lester

Darren is 35 and a fully qualified Paramedic from La Perouse, Sydney, working out of the Sydney Ambulance Centre. He joined the ambulance service in 2002 after working at Ansett when it went bust and he needed a new career. Darren loves being a Paramedic, although it is a busy and demanding job - on top of looking after three young kids of his own.

Darren says the medical field is developing all the time and you “have to be on top of that”, learning new skills and treatments. It takes three years to become qualified Paramedic at the Ambulance Education Centre, including 8 weeks of a level one course then working as a trainee Paramedic on the road with a senior officer for ten months. Trainees go back to school for three weeks, become a level 2 and continue with on the job training with senior officers.

Darren's advice for becoming an 'ambo' is: to firstly apply for training, update your driver's licence and ensure you have a sparkling clean driving record. Darren says that is of paramount importance, as the major role of a Paramedic is swiftly and reliably stabilising patients, then transporting them to hospital.

VJ Rodney Meier