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'Ambos' share experiences

RANI TIMOTI
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2013
St John

COMMUNITY CARERS: Erica Joseph, Megan Fairley and Patsy Carlyle share ideas and appreciate each other’s roles in their medical fields.

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A medical exchange between St John and South Australian Ambulance continues to reap experiences and rewards.

St John shift supervisor Patsy Carlyle of Helensville hosted South Australian Ambulance volunteer Erica Joseph for 14 days.

The learning curve included visiting Patsy's work base in Mt Wellington, meeting her colleagues and attending the Traumed Conference 2013 in Whangarei.

Patsy represented St John during the exchange to South Australia in 2007. "Erica and I share our rural experiences," she says.

Erica is a 63-year-old resident of Moonta Bay on the Yorke Peninsula, mainly a retirement area.

Her "very busy station" services the country township of 3000 people, along with helping with surrounding stations.

"The average age of ambos is over 50 and we have have 1500 jobs a year."

Her husband of 46 years, Greg, is a mediator and voluntary union rep for their organisation and the couple are heavily involved in their community.

Erica has been a volunteer for 15 years and is assistant team leader and training co-ordinator. The mother of two and grandmother regularly goes on roster for 48-plus hours a week.

"I see volunteering not as a job but something I love to do."

Despite a busy lifestyle in her own retirement she says it's still a dream and their Moonta group gets on like a family.

From her time in New Zealand she's learnt plenty to take back home, including an admiration of the strong ties between the St John fulltime staff and volunteers.

Patsy has also given her a piece of equipment to help secure the airway especially in a e critical situation.

"We went to a car accident where someone was trapped in a car and I saw the relationship between emergency services."

In Moonta they recruit all-year round and their station works really well with their "firies".

She says the volunteers, who come from their homes, have a very good response time on their pagers.

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- Norwest News

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