From emergency management to ambulance service

Nathan is someone who thrives in chaos, and is now transitioning from one high-intensity field to another. Learn how he is making the shift with QUT Online.

Providing hands-on emergency assistance

Nathan was never going to be satisfied working in an office. His drive to help those in desperate circumstances and ‘bring calm to chaos’ inspired him to step into a career in emergency management. In the Queensland State Emergency Service (EMQ), he was deployed to assist with disasters like Tropical Cyclone Yasi and the 2011 floods. He assisted with the search for missing persons and was flown in a Black Hawk helicopter to help those in rural communities across Queensland.

This actioned-packed role was a great fit for Nathan, who always wanted to be in the middle of emergency situations where he could help the most. This all changed, however, when an enquiry into the EMQ’s response to the 2011 floods forced an organisational restructure, and the job that Nathan was striving for became a desk job with the police service.

‘[That was] something I haven’t been suited to, with my very in-field, in-the-chaos desire. So I looked at other options, and by far the service which I found most drawing was the ambulance service. The calm they brought to chaos, the decisiveness they brought to a situation where decisions were life and death, it was awe inspiring. And so my journey began there.’

Stepping back into the action

With his extensive experience in emergency response, Nathan found work as an advanced care paramedic in the resources sector. In this role, he works with those in the mining and resource industry, delivering prehospital medical care, managing injuries, running return-to-work programs, administering drug and alcohol tests, and supporting allied health practitioners.

‘No two days are the same, but it’s that exact point that was a drawcard for me. I fly out of Brisbane into Moranbah for a 7/7 roster, and from Moranbah we disseminate to both open-cut and underground mines.’

Acquiring the skills that matter

Once Nathan was back on a career path that excited him, he began thinking about the next steps for his professional advancement. He was eager to deepen his knowledge, expand his experience and advance his clinical practice so that he was ready for the next opportunity that arose with the ambulance service.

‘[I was interested in] not only in increasing understanding of the role at a more “big-picture” level, but also providing the means for career advancement and promotion, moving through into team leader and into more operational delivery roles, at the higher managerial level.’

It was for this reason that Nathan chose to study a Graduate Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety, and then a Graduate Certificate in Disaster and Emergency Management with QUT Online. The online study model meant that he was able to continue his important and demanding work while he upskilled.

‘Online was the best method, especially because I work a combination of fly in fly out, and structured working hours including nightshifts. Online study gave me the flexibility I required.’

Having completed his studies, Nathan is equipped with the skills he needs to advance in his career with the ambulance service, and is excited about where his new qualifications may lead him. While he isn’t sure exactly where that will be yet, he knows it will be right in the middle of the action, and not behind a desk.

Are you interested in learning how assist in emergency situations? Learn more about QUT Online’s Graduate Certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management on our website, or get in touch with one of our Course Consultants on 1300 104 196, Monday–Friday 8am–4pm Brisbane time.

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