For the past five years I have been involved in Emergency Services. It all started when I was still in high school when I started volunteering for my local fire department. I saw it as a random life occurrence, but my parents would just laugh at that and proceed to regale you with tales of a young boy running around the house with fire truck and ambulance toys making siren noises in 80% of his waking moments.
I was hooked my first call for service. It was about 9:30 at night, a day after I was issued a pager and the go-ahead from the chief that I had enough training to respond on calls. Two of us responded from our station for a cardiac event. I sat shotgun in the engine, and was enthralled with the mountainsides lighting up red as we passed by. I thought that was cool enough, but I had no idea what was coming next. The ambulance from the closest station arrived, and immediately called for a "Chopper Go." We are far enough away from any major hospitals that critical patients usually get flown out by helicopter. That night, it was our job in the engine to be the contact on the ground for St Anthony's Flight for Life
There I was, my very first call standing like an idiot in my shiny bright yellow suit being pelted by gravel as my very first up close and personal helicopter landed mere feet away. So, as I said before, I was hooked. I have been an EMT-Basic for three years, I work on an ambulance and in a 911 center for a living, and I still volunteer. Paramedic school is right on the horizon for me, and I am currently enrolled in all of the pre-requisites needed for it. EMS is my passion. It's really gratifying to be doing a job where you are giving back and making a real difference.
have always had an interest in New Zealand. It wasn't until I visited a specific website fairly recently that I spiraled into this obsessive frenzy of actually moving there. The website is that of St John Ambulance of New Zealand
. Pure curiosity brought me there on a slow shift at about 3am. When I stumbled upon their page about international employment, I had quite and "eyebrow moment." You all know exactly what I'm talking about. We've all had them. They're the moments when you look at something, you kind of half purse your lips, your eyebrows go up, and you go, "hmm. This might work
Those words reverberated through my brain. This might work...
And that my friends, is what got me going. I started researching other ambulance companies as well. St John does most of EMS for the country. There is Wellington Free Ambulance
that covers the city of Wellington, and several other smaller companies that cover smaller area. St John and WFA seem to be the ones the most interested in hiring from overseas.
There are obviously a lot of differences I'll have to deal with being an EMS professional across the hemispheres. Not least of which is vehicles and driving. Lets start with the biggies like, "What the heck is the steering wheel doing over there?" and "Why is oncoming traffic driving straight towards my face?!?"
A little less crucial to life and wellbeing is the layout and general look of the busses. Here is a picture of what we're used to here --->
The last huge difference I can think of right now, is levels of certification and protocols. There are really no direct equivalents to American certifications. When you apply internationally in New Zealand, you need to have your skills assessed by either the Auckland University of Technology
or by Ambulance New Zealand. They then decide for which level, if any, you are qualified for. There are differences in equipment (though some I've noticed are the same or very similar), pharmacological
protocols and different drugs etc...
Despite the differences, and the effort needed to get hired, this might just work!
My whole attitude with this dream, is why not try? What do I have to loose?
My heart and soul are in EMS. The fact that I could bring that with me to the country of my dreams is very, very encouraging.