From
Saint Arnaud, Victoria
Career
Paramedic and Nurse
Passions
Community, Paramedicine, Health Care

Zoey Torney

What did you do after high school?

I left school and went straight to uni to do a double degree in paramedicine and nursing. This wasn’t always the plan, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. But I didn’t like the idea of moving to the city to study. A local paramedic spoke at our school one day to teach first aid. He explained what a career in paramedicine was like, and I had a few discussions with him about it as an option. 

Looking into Paramedicine 

I was lucky enough to work alongside him for four years which gave me the experience and exposure for me to say ‘Oh this is what I want to do.’ 

I worked with him while I was at uni. In small towns Ambulance services employ community members and train them up to be able to deliver basic first aid as well as drive the ambulance. So they can drive the paramedic to and from jobs. I got to do that for four years which was really, really good exposure.

The Paramedicine Pathway

For this job, studying the double degree was definitely worth it. It’s hard to get a job with Ambulance Victoria, but because I had already worked with them for four years I was lucky and got a job straight away. But a lot of my mates from uni haven’t been getting employment until this year. They’ve been nursing for the last three years and are only now getting into paramedicine because it’s so hard to get jobs. Which is why it’s great to have both. They also contrast each other really well, the skills you learn in one definitely help with the other.

It’s hard to get a job with Ambulance Victoria, but because I had already worked with them for four years I was lucky and got a job straight away. But a lot of my mates from uni haven’t been getting employed until this year. They’ve been nursing for the last three years and are only now getting into paramedicine because it’s so hard to get jobs. Which is why it’s great to have both. They also contrast each other really well, the skills you learn in one definitely help with the other.

Two Careers

At the moment I’m working as a full time paramedic. I also work casually as a nurse. But because of Covid we aren’t allowed to cross over like we used to be able to. Prior to the pandemic I would try to do a shift a fortnight as a nurse. I have  just been successful in getting a job back in St Arnaud, so I’m moving back home in the next few months which is so exciting. 

I think I’ll be doing this for a while. I love it – it’s a good career. I’m really keen to get back to the country. Melton has been a great experience, it’s really busy and I’m lucky to get that professional exposure, but ultimately it’s not where I want to be in the long run, I like wide open spaces and not a lot of traffic.

My advice for anyone interested in health care?

My main tip is, if paramedicine or nursing or healthcare is something you want to do, get into community volunteering. Do something that involves interacting with people and talking to people. A lot of our job is not just about helping people, it’s about how we talk to people to get information from them. When I was doing my degree I did a heap of volunteering with kids and eldery people just to work with a diverse range of people. I volunteered back in Saint Arnaud for a few different youth programs and then volunteered in the nursing homes.

It was great to be able to communicate with people freely. That’s half the hassle with our job, if you can’t get patients to share the full information you can’t do a proper assessment. It’s also great for the community to have you interacting with them as well. It’s also a great way to grow your resume. To be a healthcare professional you need to be able to talk to people – it’s the bread and butter.

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