Contemplating life.

Hobart – use the Hashtag! #PAConf2012

Next month, the 2012 Paramedics Australasia Conference will be held in Hobart, Tasmania. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2010 and 2011 conferences (and even present at the last one), so it is a little sad that I’m missing out this time.

Two things I ask of you:

  1. Please attend the conference
  2. Please keep me up to date by live-tweeting the conference with the #PAConf2012 hashtag.

Pure selfish reasons, I know, but I do want to keep an eye on the mob Down Under, they are a good bunch!

Registration Survey

For everyone in Australia, or planning to come to Australia: National Paramedic Registration is up and coming – have your input!

The survey:

The petition:

More information: for more information, visit the Paramedics Australasia website:

Target 3000 – Professional Registration for Australian Paramedics


The arrow hits the target. But how accurate is the archer? How do we know his skills are up to date? Does he know what he is doing? Is he an archer at all?

And what am I on about?

Paramedic Registration developments are entering a hot phase in Australia – consultation exercises will be beginning soon.

Does this affect me?

As a Paramedic in Australia – YES! The title ‘Paramedic’ is not protected, anyone can call themselved a paramedic. Heck, I even saw an ad for a “Paramedic Skin Care Specialist” in the paper last year!

As a resident in Australia – YES! Registration will help standardise and raise the level of care brought to you should you ever require a paramedic.

Anyone else – YES! Join and help the profession forward. You can tell us about your own registration experiences, knowledge, pitfalls etc; we want the best system in place here in the land of Down Under.

And what should I do?

  • Contact Paramedics Australasia’s policy advisor Ray Bange at to be kept up to date with all things registration
  • Visit the PA website and read the registration documents
  • On Twitter, follow #ParamedicReg
  • Participate in all future submissions when they are released shortly
  • Talk to other paramedics in your workplace and be prepared for the registration debate!

“One small step for a paramedic, one giant leap for the profession”


Paramedics Australasia conference #4

My first conference presentation was quickly approaching. There were a few hiccups regarding my time slot (tip: if a presenter drops out, don’t move the other presenters forward – people won’t know, even if an announcement is made), but I managed to start on time. The was even an audience, believe it or not!

Things ran quite well, some good questions were asked and I received positive feedback. I’d love to give you the presentation right here and now, but I am presenting it at my university’s e-culture conference next month, so I’ll wait until that’s done and then pop it up here.

Back to the highlight of the conference:

I was especially keen to meet with Gary Wingrove during the conference – as a founder and driver of International Paramedic, he was a main target on my conference radar. Plus, I had been told earlier that day that there was a conference call on to meet with other IParamedic supporters, and to build upon the inaugural meeting in April.

So after a quick dinner I headed down to the conference call room, and jumped on Gary as soon as I saw him. I think I may have startled him a little, but that quickly gave way to the history and potential direction of International Paramedic. Laid back yet determined, Gary and I discussed the parallels between the International Roundtable of Community Paramedicine and International Paramedic, his thought and my ideas of getting involved. Then it was time for the conference to start. 17 people, 4 of them on the phone – and I got to audio meet Scott Kier, which was a cool surprise!

And sitting in that conference room, I realised that I am sitting in a room with 17 people,   Paramedics from all over the world, and that this is possibly the forefront of the international movement forwards and together for paramedicine. A truly global initiative, with a truly global perspective. Something never done before, but badly needed. And started by über-passionate paramedics, now involving students, academics, government officials, the lot. I’d recommend to keep an eye out for ip, and more importantly, feel free to contribute and take part yourself (for example, the google groups have some great discussions going on)! This is EMS 2.0 taken from the textbook as it being written, and turned in to practice. This is something we can shape. Influence our own profession. How effing exciting is that?

The call came to an end, but not after everybody on the line was encouraged to pitch in ideas and get some direction for the future – getting international representation, putting out documents for international comparison of systems and services, internatoinal exchange and more.

This is the stuff that really gets me excited – the world of paramedicine is growing smaller!


Paramedics Australasia Conference #3

Day three in Sydney was another early morning start, with a slightly nervous yours truly, as  it was to be the day of his first conference presentation. But first, there were talks to attend:


  • “What can Australian paramedics learn from the modern battlefield” by Col Dr John Crozier. apparently, we can learn that if the enemy shoots at us, we should shoot back. The first half of the presentation was very military focussed, and I found myself tuning out a lot because, you know, this is a paramedic conference, and not a manual of “how I won the war”. Finally, though, we got in to the clinical side of things, and my parasympathetic responses began to be suppressed: wound clotting bandages in general have come in to a recession, now that they are not as good as they thought to have been. Tourniquets are a last measure for haemmorhage control, but when used are life saving. An interesting fact that was points out was in regards to tourniquets in surgery: patients can have tourniquets applied for hours in an operating theatre – surely we can too in an out of hospital environment? Thing is, in the operating theatre, the patient is a) in a controlled environment, and b) generally haemodynamically stable. So 60 – 90 minutes is the general consensus to leave a tourniquet on. One last point of interest was the fact that 28% of tension pneumothoraces were missed in the battlefield, which was traced down that clinical signs don’t always tell you what is happening to the patient. Time for portable ultrasound, in my opinion!
  • “The history of paramedic education” by Dr Ric Bouvier: hop in your Delorean, dial in 1950, and slowly drive towards the now, and admire the view of past education systems and general progression in our profession. Ric got the audience on his side early on with the witty but accurate comment: “I’m glad to see so many paramedics without balls here!”. He was referring to the nearly 50/50 gender split amongst paramedics in Australia – not bad seeing that (depending on the state) females were not allowed to work on the frontline 20 – 30 years ago.
  • Professor Hugh Grantham continued with the topic with a very clear and informative presentation style, highlighting the journey from Ambulance Driver with a first aid certificate, moving up the ranks via structured courses, diplomas and now to tertiary level educated clinicians, driving research via Masters degrees and PhDs.  “Paramedicine needs to be driven by paramedics. Paramedics need to be driven by patients needs.” His quote sums it up nicely – history has shown us that instead of taking the patient to care, care needs to be taken to the patient. And for care to be take to the patient, quality caregivers are needed – decently educated paramedics. And who better to look after our profession than our own?
  • “Community Paramedics – here, there and everywhere” by Gary Wingrove. Gary brought up some great issues, such as that paramedicine needs to adapt to the needs of the community, and to coordinate these changes and learn from each other there needs to be an international exchange – this is where the International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine (IRCP) comes in . Other things he mentioned were…oh…umm…I have to admit, I got a bit sidetracked during Gary’s speech. Not because it was boring or I was disinterested, not at all, but because Gary is also a founder and leader of International Paramedic – and his talk had very many parallels and good idea for International Paramedic. He would talk about something, and that would trigger my mind off in to a world of thought…so, sorry Gary! I’ll make it up with a dedicated post to International Paramedic.
  • “A model of paramedic decision making in cases involving pain” by Bill Lord. A very interesting subject, as I believe we generally under treat pain in patients. Also a very tricky topic, as pain is such a personal experience – who am I as an outsider to judge what is going on inside someone else’s body? Bill’s extensive research (which won him an award at the conference) has shown amongst others that vital signs have no correlation to pain and that females are less likely to receive pain relief. Personally I am still a little sceptical in regards to some of the findings – probably warranting a dedicated blogpost.
  • “Perceptions of clinical leadership in St John Ambulance Service WA: A research report” by Joseph Cuthbertson. A report on Paramedics preferences and reactions to clinical governance and leadership by Clinical Support Paramedics. Interesting from a leadership perspective because Western Australian does not have a tiered response system, every out of hospital emergency care provider is a paramedic (or student paramedic). Clinical Support Paramedics have a supportive role only, and do not have additional skills. Findings were that Paramedics wanted leadership and guidance from Clinical Support Paramedics who were confident, had experience, extensive background knowledge and patience.
  • By now my presentation was quickly approaching, so I clinked out of the buzz and retreated for a little last minute preparation. I’ll give you a more detailed version of my presentation in a dedicated post (hey, I have to give myself the special treatment somewhere!). Meanwhile, I had some spies scattered around reporting some interesting findings:
  • “Can relief from chest pain with nitrates inform a clinical decision?” by Laura Roberts. Studies have shown that you may as well flip a coin. That right, a complete 50/50 chance that the chest pain is of cardiac origin if it is relieved nitrates. Good knowledge to have in the back of your mind next time you respond to a chest pain call.
  • “Paramedic Response to Suicide Bombings: Learning form the Israeli Experience” by Christopher Foerster. Do you know how long it takes for an Israeli bus service to take up normal service after a bomb attack? 90 minutes. Pretty clued in, unfortunately the have had a fair bit of experience in these things…
  • “Occupational risks on undergraduate paramedic students in clinical placements” by Tegwyn Bath. The lecture prior to mine, but I still managed to soak up a little information as how to minimise risks for potential future students that may be riding with me.
  • “Recent Australasian Disasters – Fire, Cyclones, Earthquakes” by Paul Holman, Neil Noble and Major Brendan Wood. The closing talk of the day, showing the efforts and effects of the bush fires in Victoria, cyclone Yasi in Queensland and the Christchurch earthquakes. A little more on that in the next post though!