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20 May 2020
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Roger Murray joined Ambulance Victoria aged 25 after deciding he ‘couldn’t be a labourer the rest of his life’.
Today, he celebrates 35 years serving the Wimmera community as a paramedic.
Mr Murray, 59, has been based in Horsham throughout his career and said being part of the city’s vibrant community was a highlight of his position.
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“In bigger cities like Melbourne you might get a thank-you card for something you’ve done, but you’re unlikely to see that person again,” he said.
“When you’re part of the community you see people you know all the time. You might bump into someone you’ve treated at Woolworths and have a chat.
“There are familiar faces everywhere – I really enjoy that.”
Ambulance Victoria paramedics aim to improve the health of the community by providing high-quality pre-
hospital care and medical transport.
They have a reputation for being highly skilled and educated.
Mr Murray said joining Ambulance Victoria 35 years ago was remarkably different from today, where recruits must complete a three-year university degree in paramedicine.
“These days, it is more of a profession,” he said.
“They come out of university so qualified now. They are very well educated in a clinical sense and of course, they go on to benefit from on-the-job experience. I am the oldest at the branch now and it’s terrific seeing the younger paramedics come through.”
Mr Murray has spent years helping colleagues as a clinical instructor, focusing on clinical, operational and professional development of students and paramedics.
“I did that for many, many years and I also taught First Aid for 23 or 24 years,” he said.
“I only recently gave that away for a better work-life balance.”
Mr Murray said although he had experienced many changes throughout his career, advancements in clinical skills was the most significant.
“The skillset has changed a lot since I first started,” he said.
“I always say that back then we only carried two basic drugs – oxygen and an analgesic. These days, we carry and use a wide range of emergency medications.
“Clinically, what we do now is remarkable.”
He said protocols had changed slightly for Wimmera paramedics throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including wearing personal protective equipment such as masks, goggles and gloves.
“In some presentations we treat people a little differently, but otherwise things are pretty similar,” he said.
“It’s nothing like in Melbourne. Those guys are really on the front line – I take my hat off to them.
“Our case numbers have been low up here so it’s been good.”
Mr Murray said there were many advantages to a career in paramedicine.
“We always joke about the old saying that we love to help people,” he said.
“But you do feel something when you can make a better outcome for someone. We are always trying to improve people’s outcomes, whether it’s mentally or medically.”
Mr Murray struggled to think of a downside to his role.
“Shift work is part of the job, as is attending fatalities,” he said.
“It’s obviously not something that you like doing – and it always affects you – but it is a part of your work.
“For me the best thing is being part of a team. I’ve made some good friends along the way, and some of the guys I started out with, I’ve been lucky enough to work with for more than 20 years.”
Mr Murray said he would recommend a career with Ambulance Victoria.
“I often say every job has its ups and downs, including this one, but I am very grateful for my career with Ambulance Victoria,” he said.
“I don’t think I would have made a different career choice, even if I was asked. It’s been good.
“I love that every day is different – nothing is ever the same. It keeps you excited.
“I’ll be around for a while yet.”
The entire May 20, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!