It happens that Tom is also now being taught by his father, Mr Adam Parker (pictured with Tom), as he studies a Bachelor of Paramedicine in the Charles Sturt School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences.
Taught, that is, when his dad is not at his ‘day job’, managing one of the largest geographical areas of NSW Ambulance.
Mr Adam Parker is a Duty Operations Manager and an Intensive Care Paramedic with NSW Ambulance. He is a 20-year veteran paramedic based in Dubbo but he lives in Bathurst where he has worked previously.
“I do some casual academic work with Charles Sturt University and have since 2012,” he said. “I love it, particularly the undergraduate program, and I have been involved in a number of subjects over the years, mostly practical-based subjects.”
Mr Parker said he finds that the students are completely intrigued by the frontline experiences he and other paramedicine academics have and bring to the students.
“It’s probably one of the things I enjoy most, the fact that the students respond so well to paramedics who are currently out on the road working, who can come in to the classroom, take the theory content of their course and put it into context and into practice, helping the students grasp concepts and build that into the clinical scenarios that we run,” he said.
Mr Parker originally studied a nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse for a few years.
“But I always wanted to work in the pre-hospital environment, so I just transitioned across to paramedicine when the time was right,” he said.
Son Tom said growing up with health professional parents, he’s always been around the health care environment.
“I’ve always been exposed to that growing up, and medicine in general, so health is always something I’ve considered having a career in,” Tom said. “I found it really intriguing.”
“When the opportunity came up for me to study a fantastic course with great people at Charles Sturt University, I leapt at it.
“I think that the overall course structure and the opportunities are just fantastic, and it really is a great program.”
Mr Parker said that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the paramedic workforce addresses safety and protection.
“Paramedics have always been a very situationally-aware and safety-conscious workforce, primarily due to the fact we work in such a variety of out-of-hospital environments,” he said.
“But I think COVID-19 has really woken us all up to the importance of personal safety and placed greater emphasis on our personal protective equipment, complying with best practice standards, and I think this will have a lasting impact on the way we do business.”
He said it was initially very confronting for some of the general public when they saw paramedics arrive with masks and gowns on when once they wouldn’t have.
“That will stay, and now moving forward there will be an element of caution with us based on our experience of COVID-19’s impact on the workforce,” he said.
Day-to-day, Mr Parker manages three ambulance stations in Dubbo, Warren, and Tottenham in central western NSW.
“Duty Operations Managers work a rotating roster five days on, four days off,” he said. “And two of my working days, I’m on call for the whole of the western sector, so I look after paramedics from Wellington in the east to Broken Hill in the west, south to Wentworth and north to Lightning Ridge.
“I’m also ‘operational’, as I work as an intensive care paramedic, so I respond to a variety of jobs.
“If any significant sort of operational requirements arise, such as a major incidents or any sort of large-scale jobs that might be of media interest, or involve a number of emergency services, like a motor vehicle accident, then I would be responded to that.”
The father and son agree that one of the strengths with Charles Sturt paramedicine program is the diversity in the academic workforce.
“Having paramedics from across the world, from Canada and from the UK, working with the Australian cohort, really makes our students very well-rounded in their exposure to work-based experience, both internationally and locally, and that’s a real credit to the University,” Mr Parker said.
While Tom is only 20 years old, he’s open to the possibilities that the paramedicine career offers for both international work as well as closer to home if he chooses.
“Whether I end up here in NSW or go overseas, I’m just excited to continue with my studies at the moment and get involved in this experience as much as I can and really broaden my scope and perception of what’s out there.
“But I’m really inspired by my parents and looking forward to the opportunities that will present themselves.”