Top honour for paramedic with a passion for clinical leadership

9 DECEMBER 2020

Top honour for paramedic with a passion for clinical leadership

A University Medal has been awarded to a Charles Sturt University paramedicine postgraduate from Melbourne who now lives London and works as a Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic with the London Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust.

“I absolutely love my job as it is extremely rewarding, interesting and different every single day,” said Mr Callum Shepherd (pictured) who completed a Master of Paramedicine (Critical Care) over three-years of part-time study in the Charles Sturt School of Biomedical Sciences.

Callum had intended to complete research as part of his master’s degree, but this was sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am passionate about clinical leadership and what it means to be an effective leader,” Callum said.

“My research question was, ‘What clinical leadership qualities to paramedics consider desirable when managing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest?’

“Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research on frontline healthcare workers was suspended internationally, and I was unable to undertake my research.

“Instead, I completed two subjects from the Masters of Paramedicine (Critical Care) course, which taught me the fundamental elements of managing minor injuries and minor illnesses.”

His master’s degree encompassed pre-hospital critical care by paramedics, including the assessment and management of complex medical, cardiology, respiratory, trauma and critical care conditions, and included a critical care residential school at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, where students undertake practical classes and assessments.

Callum said he was amazed and humbled to be awarded the University Medal.

“I’ve put hundreds of hours into this course and missed many social events and holidays, so I am extremely happy that my hard work has been worthwhile,” he said.

Callum, who comes from East Brighton in Melbourne, chose to study at Charles Sturt because it was the first Australian university to develop an industry-recognised paramedic degree back in 1994.

“Charles Sturt University has a really good reputation for teaching paramedicine,” he said. “The lecturers have extensive prehospital experience across a range of countries and emergency medical systems, making the course comprehensive and not specific to one ambulance service.

“My senior lecturers and research supervisor were absolutely brilliant. They are all extremely knowledgeable and well-respected individuals within their respective health fields, and I would not have been able to achieve my results without their ongoing support and advice.”

Callum aims to continue working in the prehospital / paramedic care setting and use his knowledge in his everyday clinical practice.

“Currently I work as a Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) Paramedic within the Department of Resilience and Specialist Assets for London Ambulance Service National Health Service (NHS) Trust,” he said.

“In this role, I work in the ‘HOT’ or hazardous zones of prehospital incidents. Specifically, this includes working at chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) incidents, hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents, major incidents, mass casualty incidents, water rescues, high-risk confined spaces, urban search and rescue and marauding terrorist attacks.

“I absolutely love my job as it is extremely rewarding, interesting and different every single day. My plan now is to begin applying for Critical Care Paramedic roles and hopefully land a job working as a Critical Care Paramedic and/or Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Paramedic.

“Eventually I would like to teach paramedicine at a university and hopefully go on to influence prehospital care policy and service delivery.

“In next few years I also hope to start a PhD which will examine paramedic non-technical skills.”

What would he advise future students undertaking paramedicine degrees?

“Plan your assessments and use the academic staff. You will learn lots and develop as a paramedic if you engage with the content,” he said.

Given the University’s graduations have been postponed this year, Callum said he didn’t plan to do anything special to celebrate his graduation.

“I’ll most likely be spending my graduation in the back of an ambulance treating a patient; it’s not particularly glamorous, but it’s perfect for me,” he said.

Callum is keen to thank the University, the faculty and his fellow postgraduate students for sharing the last three years with him.

“I have developed significantly as a prehospital clinician,” he said.

“I’ve gained some incredible mates from all over Australia, and I wish them all the best in their future career endeavours.

“See you on road! … and (as a paramedic gag) remember – it’s DR ABC (Dangers, Response, Airway, Breathing and Circulation) … DEFG - Don’t Ever Forget Glucose.”

Want to keep up with Callum’s journey?

Follow London Ambulance HART - Twitter: @LAS_HART   Instagram: London_ambulance_hart

Media Note:

To arrange interviews contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or news@csu.edu.au

Charles Sturt remains committed to rescheduling its 2020 graduation ceremonies in 2021, with dates to be announced when COVID-19-related restrictions allow.

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