THE job of a paramedic is not a “normal” one and it’s a significant achievement to keep up with its challenges and changes for 10 years – or more.
That was the comment from New England zone manager, Superintendent Stephen Flanagan, after several Tamworth paramedics were presented on Wednesday with certificates, plaques and pins.
The emergency workers were recognised for anything from 10 years of service all the way up to retired paramedic Greg Schiemer’s 38 years in the job, for which he received a literal armful of awards.
“I think many people will acknowledge that paramedics perform quite a dangerous task for the community and 10 years of service is quite different to, say, someone in a ‘normal’ field of work,” Superintendent Flanagan said.
“The paramedic industry is one that evolves every year in terms of clinical practice, new skills, new equipment, different ways of operations, so paramedics have to be constantly evolving.
“When you look at someone like Greg – 38 years – the changes he will have gone through are pretty significant, and that’s why they need to be rewarded.”
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan and Deputy Commissioner David Dutton led the ceremony at Tamworth Services Club.
Kim Summers, Nicole Beacroft, Sarah Hitchcock, Sean O’Connor, James Thompson, Brian Bridges and Greg Schiemer received awards.
Another paramedic, Clint McSpedden from Inverell, was supposed to attend but – fittingly – missed the event due to a late and busy shift overnight.
Mr Schiemer started with NSW Ambulance in July 1975, working at Hornsby, Point Clare and Wyong stations before transferring to Tamworth in 1994, Manilla in 2010 and retiring in 2013.
He said the recognition “means a great deal to me”.
”I’m just so thankful … at all the stations I’ve worked at, I’ve enjoyed working with everybody, and I hope they’ve enjoyed working with me,” he said.
Tamworth city station manager Kim Summers received a medal for 10 years’ long service and good conduct. She said she enjoyed her colleagues and the “diverse work environment”.
“I’m passionate about what we can provide to smaller communities in terms of pre-hospital care. It’s been great implementing some of the new cardiac care initiatives: thrombolytic agents or clot-busting drugs that we can administer on the road in consultation with cardiac doctors,” she said.
Station officer Summers said this had allowed her and her colleagues to save lives – “several in the last few years in north-west NSW”.