Phil Thomas, Paramedic and Training & Development Manager
What medical field are you/have you been involved in and for how long?
I have worked in pre-hospital care for 13 years in a range of areas including non-emergency patient transport and emergency ambulance attendance.
Whilst completing my paramedicine degree, I worked as an Ambulance Community Officer, an Emergency Services Officer in the mines, and volunteered as a Volunteer Ambulance Officer for two years.
In August 2020, I became the Training and Development Manager for St John Ambulance ACT and continue to perform paramedical duties.
Why did you choose to go into that profession?
Many years ago, when my firefighting contract finished in Victoria, I was unsure of what I wanted to do until my wife mentioned my interest in medicine, and I decided to complete a Certificate 3 in Patient Transport which got me a job soon after. From there, I started my Diploma of Paramedical Science where I had to complete emergency placements with Ambulance Victoria, I discovered I loved the challenges and that every day is different, where I am constantly learning and helping people in different ways.
Do you have any goals within this profession?
I’ve had a couple of goals over the years, some of which I’ve now achieved; I always wanted to become an Intensive Care Paramedic which I accomplished earlier this year. I am also halfway through a nursing degree and am very interested in further developing my career into medicine and becoming an emergency medicine doctor.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being in this profession?
Being able to help people in different ways every single day, as well as challenging myself to the best of my abilities. But I guess using my knowledge and skills to provide the best care possible is probably the best thing about it.
Do you have any advice for men wishing to go into this profession?
Realistically, I wanted to be a rugby player; I did not perform the best in school, became a firefighter, and then decided to go into paramedicine later in life. If anything, my journey taught me that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. You can always start again and if you have a goal and are committed, it is achievable.
Paramedicine, well it is one of the most rewarding professions you’ll find, but it is not for the faint-hearted. You see people at their most vulnerable day in day out and things will not always turn out how you want them to. But if you love coffee, like-minded people, challenging yourself mentally and physically, and ultimately helping others every day, then this is the perfect career choice.