Paramedicine students volunteer to ‘Ride The Wave’ in Port Macquarie

16 JUNE 2022

Paramedicine students volunteer to ‘Ride The Wave’ in Port Macquarie

Charles Sturt University paramedicine student volunteers will gain valuable experience in their field while providing practical support for the Ride The Wave Festival in Port Macquarie in mid-June.

  • Charles Sturt University student paramedic volunteers connect with the community at events while applying the skills and knowledge they have learnt

Charles Sturt University paramedicine student volunteers will gain valuable experience in their field while providing practical support for the Ride The Wave Festival in Port Macquarie in mid-June.

The Ride the Wave Festival on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 and Friday 24 to Sunday 26 June was established in 2021 as the annual fundraising event for Make A Difference (MAD) Port Macquarie.

The festival features surfing competitions (men’s and women’s events, longboard and shortboard), skateboarding and scooter competitions, and a two-day music festival, and showcases the region to the wider community while advocating for the disadvantaged and marginalised.

Lecturer in paramedicine Ms Hannah Stack in the Charles Sturt School of Nursing, Paramedicine and Healthcare Sciences in Port Macquarie said student paramedics significantly benefit from volunteering at events within the community, such as Ironman, ArtWalk, FOTSUN, Boots and Beach, Slice of Haven, and Ride The Wave.

“Volunteering at community events allows student paramedics to apply the clinical knowledge they have learnt in class, and it can help develop skills and qualities crucial for their roles as future health care professionals,” Ms Stack said.

“It also provides an opportunity to work on their soft skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork and to work alongside multi-disciplinary health teams, which they may not have experienced yet, including doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.

“Through the connections that are built with other clinicians, I have even heard of student paramedics being offered jobs in various roles.

Ms Stack said most importantly, volunteering allows students to give back to the Port Macquarie community, especially as some events, such as Ironman, heavily rely on the help of volunteers.

Ms Stack is also a graduate and alumna of Charles Sturt after she completed her paramedicine degree in 2016 and said student paramedics can make a positive impact by engaging and connecting with local businesses in the community, all while applying the skills and knowledge they have learnt at Charles Sturt.

“I had first-hand experience volunteering at Ironman when I was a student paramedic, and I remember having so much fun working alongside my peers and lecturers at this event,” she said.

“My volunteering experience as a student paramedic also looked great on my resume, and it helped me build my professional portfolio.”

Ms Stack said they have an excellent student paramedic club at Port Macquarie called the Charles Sturt University Student Paramedic Association (CSUSPA) that is run by a committee of volunteers.

“The majority of the events that student paramedics volunteer at will be organised through CSUSPA, and the number of volunteers that are recruited depends on the event,” she said.

“For example, at events such as ArtWalk, Slice of Haven, Boots and Beach music festival, and the Cycling NSW Tour, around 10 student paramedics were volunteering through different shifts on the day, while bigger events held recently, such as FOTSUN (Festival of the Sun), had 28 student paramedics volunteering as first aiders.”

Ms Stack said the most extensive event student paramedics volunteer at each year is the Ironman event, with more than 100 Charles Sturt student paramedic volunteers participating in various medical roles across the weekend in May 2022.

“The majority of student paramedics were from the University in Port Macquarie, but we even had students who had travelled from the University in Bathurst to volunteer,” she said.

“Their roles included the motorbike medic response, ambulance response, finish line triage, and working alongside multi-disciplinary teams within the medical tent.

“We also had four Paramedicine Lecturers ─ Mr Rob Bear, Mr Jacob Grevell, Ms Alisha McFarlane, and me ─ from Charles Sturt in Port Macquarie volunteering on the day and supervising the student paramedics.

“We volunteered in various shifts from 6am (when the swim event started) to midnight when the last runner crossed the finish line.”

Director of External Engagement (Mid North Coast) Ms Kate Wood-Foye said, “In addition to the incredible voluntary support provided by our paramedic team and students, we are delighted to be able to support the event with the provision of a defibrillator and a $1,000 Sporting Grant as part of our Community University Partnership program.

“Volunteering at community events adds value for our student paramedics and manifests the Charles Sturt ethos from the Wiradjuri phrase yindyamarra winhanganha - the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in.”

Media Note:

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

Photos: Charles Sturt paramedicine student volunteers in Port Macquarie.

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Port Macquarie Health Society and Community Paramedicine