Sarah Rech is a paramedic with SA Ambulance Service, and also teaches in our Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree. She began with SA Ambulance Service as a Paramedic Intern in July 2015, then qualified as a paramedic at the end of 2016. She has been working in the western and northern suburbs of Adelaide ever since. When we heard about her infectious enthusiasm for the job, we just had to speak to her!
What experiences led you to a career in paramedics? I have always had an interest in the medical field and a strong passion for helping people. In year 12, I was unsure of what pathway I wanted to go down in the medical field: there were so many choices like medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech pathology and nursing … but in the end I was drawn to the fast paced nature of paramedics and the idea that every single day I would be helping people and potentially carrying out life-saving interventions.
From my first paramedic placement, I knew that I had made the right choice: it was both exciting and rewarding. I also loved the team atmosphere and supportive culture that SA Ambulance has built for its employees.
What opportunities did the degree offer you? Completing the Bachelor of Paramedic Science at Flinders has provided me with many opportunities, both clinically and personally.
The degree, first and foremost, provided me with the essential skills and knowledge required to be a paramedic. From first year you are taught lifesaving skills and interventions such a CPR. As you progress through the degree you are taught more complex skills and knowledge required to manage the various cases paramedics attend, ranging from high-acuity to low acuity. A high acuity case may involve managing a multi trauma at a motor vehicle accident whereas a low acuity case may be sitting in a home providing comfort and reassurance to an elderly patient who is unwell. Most importantly, the paramedic degree gave me the opportunity to help people and there is nothing more rewarding than that!
Personally, I thrived in the supportive culture and team environment that was created by the topic coordinators and tutors in Flinders’ paramedic science degree. The degree developed my leadership skills which I hope to one day use in a leadership position in SA Ambulance Service.
Progressing through my career as a paramedic I have been able to pursue my passion for teaching by becoming a relieving clinical instructor. This role supports new paramedic interns as they enter the workforce.
Very early in my career as a paramedic, I also began tutoring at Flinders in the Paramedic Science degree. I honestly believe that being a paramedic is a privilege and one of the most rewarding occupations: it’s a real pleasure to share my knowledge and experiences with the next generations of paramedics.
What is it like being a graduate of the the degree you now teach into? Working as a tutor across all three years of the paramedic degree has been a hugely beneficial and rewarding experience and I have relished the opportunity to help the development of aspiring paramedics. Paramedic tutors bring real-life examples to their teaching which I believe engages the students.
I have developed an understanding of the time and effort the paramedic science department spends providing and teaching the most up-to-date content in the most interactive and real-life way.
What do placements mean for students? When you complete a Bachelor of Paramedic Science at Flinders University you are given the opportunity to complete placements with SA Ambulance Service. Placements are a chance for students to experience exactly what it is like to be a paramedic. Students can relate and apply what they are learning at university to real life jobs, reinforcing their skills and knowledge. I find placements excite and motivate students because they are immersed in the environment they wish to pursue a career in. They get to communicate with patients, provide treatment under direct supervision and interact with the team that they may one day be working alongside.
What has your experience been like working with students both on campus and on placement? I really enjoy working with students on placement and on campus. I have worked on-road with some really capable students who have been extremely enthusiastic and passionate. I love it when students ask questions that provoke in-depth discussions as it shows they are trying to gain every piece of knowledge which could one day be critical to savings someone lives.
I would honestly recommend the paramedic degree and profession to anyone who has a real passion for helping people. The trust the community places in us allows us to help them in their times of need. Being a paramedic is a true privilege.