Townsville Ambulance Service – Women In Charge

The four busiest QAS ambulance stations in Townsville are run by women.

Ladies LR Sandie Gawn, Linda Reedman, Amanda Harper and Elissa Edie. Picture: Zak Simmonds. The Townsville Bulletin ran an inspiring story recently about how women in the Queensland Ambulance Service are paving the way for other women to follow suit.

With years of practical experience behind them, these four amazing women run the North Queensland region’s busiest ambulance stations

  • Sandie Gawn (Officer-In-Charge of Northern Beaches)
  • Linda Reedman (OIC Kirwan Station)
  • Elissa Edie (OIC South Townsville station)
  • Lara Jedyn (OIC Townsville Station); and
  • Amanda Harper (manager clinical education)

Five of the most seasoned paramedics in Townsville, with a combined service record of almost 80 years.

They are leaders in their highly respected paramedical field and are training the region’s first responders. The women believe gender has never been a barrier to achieving their success.

“It’s all about credibility,” Mrs Harper said. “When I started 21 years ago, there were only two other females in this region … but we were accepted and very well respected.”

She said enrolments in university courses were now split with 50 per cent males and ­females. “The reputation of the women at this table and those around the state has spoken for itself with regard to the ­profession.”

The five paramedic leaders encourage other women to choose the Queensland Ambulance Service as a career path. “If you have the right temperament for the job — it does require a certain level of resilience — then you’ll do well,” Mrs Edie said. “We would encourage anyone who wants a rewarding career to consider becoming a paramedic. “It’s a tough job, we work long hours. But we wouldn’t do this job if we didn’t think we were making a difference.”

More and more women are enrolling in Paramedical pathway courses

“More and more women are enrolling in Paramedical pathway courses”, said a spokeswomen for the Australian Paramedical College. The health care sector has many opportunities for women who have a passion for helping others. From basic health care, to first responder, Paramedic, station manager and senior management roles – there’s no end to what can be achieved.

There’s so many opportunities when deciding to enter the emergency healthcare workforce. Typically, it means enrolling in a HLT41120 – Certificate IV in Health Care then move on to a HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care. After achieving this qualification, it’s off to university to complete a Bachelor degree in Paramedical Science if a career as an Ambulance Paramedic is the goal. (degree required)

However, many women who are looking to enter the workforce again after raising/still raising a family are looking for more of a career that gives them flexibility to work around their family. They’re looking for variety and a job that means they won’t be repeating the same thing every day in the same place.

Women tell us they’re looking for;

  • a job that’s fast-paced and has loads of variety
  • appeals to them because they’re not a 9 to 5 type of person
  • rosters and the flexibility to work around family is really appealing
  • meeting new people and having good work mates and new friends
  • different settings everyday to make life less boring

And finally…

Overwhelmingly, the women we spoke with said they needed to remember their happiness was also important and to never let themselves go back into work they are unsatisfied with. Very true…

What is your career journey?

To discover how you can become a fully qualified Ambulance Paramedic or Basic/Advanced Life Support Medic, complete a personalised paramedical career development plan.