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Award-winning paramedic shines at CDU Open Day

CDU Paramedicine Lecturer Amy McCaffrey in the new paramedicine facility.
Award-winning CDU Paramedicine Lecturer, Amy McCaffrey, will provide a rare glimpse of life as a paramedic at the University’s Alice Springs Open Day today.

Working at the busy intersection of education, primary healthcare, emergency medical services and public health, Amy McCaffrey, is an inspirational figure.

The Charles Darwin University (CDU) Paramedicine Lecturer from Alice Springs stands out in the remote emergency healthcare landscape that spans the red desert heart of Central Australia. 

Testifying to this Mrs McCaffrey was honoured with a prestigious 2023 Council of Ambulance Authorities Women in Ambulance Award in March.

The award recognises Mrs McCaffrey’s achievement in work, leadership and willingness to guide and mentor others while working as a paramedic for St John Ambulance (NT), within a 150km-radius of Alice Springs.

“I’m particularly passionate about education and mentoring,” Mrs McCaffrey said.

“It’s a privilege to be able to share my knowledge of the industry and support students facing the same challenges that I experienced as a graduate intern in my first year of paramedic work.

“Paramedics have an important role in the wider primary healthcare landscape, especially in Alice Springs,” she said.

In 2021 she also received the award, highlighting the consistency and outstanding professionalism that Mrs McCaffrey brings to her work as both a remote paramedic and as a paramedicine educator at the CDU Alice Springs campus.

There, she imparts her knowledge and experience of emergency medical services, particularly primary healthcare, to the next generation of NT paramedics who are studying a CDU Bachelor of Paramedicine in Central Australia.

Today, people from the local community can also soak up this knowledge and gain a rare glimpse of life as a paramedic when Mrs McCaffrey delivers a series of demonstrations and guided tours at the CDU Alice Springs Open Day from 4pm - 8pm.

“We certainly train for the one per cent crisis situations, but a big misconception is that paramedicine is all critical emergency work,” Mrs McCaffrey said.

“A big part of the job is primary healthcare and complex medical and social situations that require empathy and patience.

“I love my job – being the first point of call in the healthcare system and advocating for people when they need it most.

“I also love that every day working as a paramedic is different and having the opportunity to help someone on what could be the worst day of their life.

“The new Bachelor of Paramedicine degree at the University’s Alice Springs campus will hopefully help retain more paramedics in the NT and encourage paramedicine graduates to return to the Territory later in their careers.”

The three-year degree, which qualifies graduates to work in Australia and internationally, currently sees paramedicine students engage in work placement at St John NT totalling 600 hours, with 120 hours completed in the second year and 480 hours in the third year.

Guided tours of the new paramedicine hub, including three simulated clinical spaces, at CDU in Alice Springs are part of a diverse Open Day program featuring a range of interactive displays, demonstrations, tours, talks, workshops and entertainment.

Some of the many highlights at this twilight event in Sadadeen are workshops to make-your-own pinch pots, monoprints and bird houses, demonstrations for 3D printing, make-your-own springs rolls and mocktails, live music and free children’s activities.

More information here.

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