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Paramedic students volunteer in Vanuatu

Paramedic students volunteer in Vanuatu

Whitireia paramedic students Kristy Green and Finn Prendergast have recently returned from a clinical placement in Vanuatu.

As part of the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) programme at Whitireia, students in their third year of study are required to participate in an elective clinical placement. The placement can be in any relevant field that interests the students, including neo-natal intensive care, search and rescue and military medicine.

Through contacts of Whitireia tutor Sean Thompson, the two were able to travel to Vanuatu and volunteer with ProMedical Santo, a non-profit ambulance organisation based on the island of Espiritu Santo.

The ProMedical ambulance service operates solely in Vanuatu, offering emergency medical care, first aid training and community support. The Santo team is currently made up of two Australian paramedics and two local registered nurses.

“We were lucky enough to work alongside the team for ten days, staying at the ambulance station and assisting them on ambulance call outs,” said Prendergast.

“We also visited the local hospital and accompanied the local doctors on their ward rounds.”

With the assistance of Student Paramedics Australasia and Whitireia, Green and Prendergast were also able to fill their suitcases with medical supplies and consumables to donate to ProMedical Santo, which were gratefully received.

The two students said the opportunity to visit a foreign country and work in their chosen field was an incredible experience, especially so early in their paramedic careers. They added that the placement allowed them to gain a perspective on practising paramedicine in a developing nation and the challenges that come with this.

“The trip opened our eyes to the diversity of the role of paramedics throughout the world. It was an enormously rewarding experience and we both look forward to one day having the opportunity to return.”

Green and Prendergast have both been accepted into Wellington Free Ambulance’s graduate internship programme for next year.


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