My name is Bruce Paul, and I am a 2019 Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust (AVCAT) Scholar and Long Tan Bursary recipient. My father is a Vietnam Veteran, he served in the Royal Australian Navy for nine years as an electronics and radar systems technician.
I’ve always been interested in healthcare, but never quite knew where I thought I’d fit in. I thought about medicine, psychology, nursing – even having a go at research with a year of study in Medical Science under my belt. But still, I felt there was something more I was looking for.
After a year of studying Medical Science with Western Sydney University, I took the plunge and re-applied to the university to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedicine), to which I was accepted.
Health is not just the absence of illness or injury. It encompasses the whole person, incorporating their mental and social wellbeing to provide a holistic outlook on the whole person. In contrast to past transport-centred ambulance practice, Modern paramedic practice is one such holistic approach to healthcare that deals not only high-acuity ‘emergency’ interventions, but also low-acuity, high complexity scenarios such as mental health presentations.
The opportunity to practice paramedicine is an honour. The privilege of caring for someone on what they might consider one of the worst days of their life, and the trust they confide in you, is a responsibility to be appreciated.
A compulsory part of my degree is the completion of several blocks of clinical placement in both state-based ambulance services and non-ambulance-based pre-hospital care environments. While exciting, clinical placement is a large personal (and financial) commitment. It requires me to support myself anywhere in NSW or the ACT, without paid work, for up to five weeks at a time. It is reassuring to know that I have the support of AVCAT through my bursary during these challenging times.
I look forward to graduating and having the opportunity to practice as a registered paramedic in the future. Wherever it takes me, whether it be the Defence Force, state ambulance, or private non-ambulance service, I look forward to a safe, fulfilling career in paramedic practice.
Bruce was awarded the Long Tan Bursary in 2019.