There are more ways to work operationally for Ambulance Victoria (AV) than just as a paramedic and one Boort woman has ticked several roles off her list.
Tamara Boyd began her AV career as a volunteer in Boort’s inaugural Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and is now undertaking her graduate paramedic year at the Maryborough ambulance branch.
Three of Boort’s original CERT members – Vikki Couper, Tamara Boyd and Deanne Smith – receive AV Service Awards for 20 years’ Long Service.
Between these roles, Ms Boyd worked as an Ambulance Community Officer (ACO) in Boort.
She has now passed 20 years with AV and said the highlight of any day is making a difference to people’s lives.
“The most rewarding aspect for me is being able to help each patient each time, regardless of how big or small their needs are,” she said.
“It might just be holding an elderly person’s hand on the way to hospital and understanding that’s what they need at that time.
“That to me makes the job worthwhile – knowing that you’ve made a difference for each patient individually.”
Tamara Boyd at her paramedic induction day in 2023.
Ms Boyd grew up in Boort and said the need for a CERT – volunteer teams which provide emergency medical support in less populated areas of the state – was clear.
“The closest ambulance branch to Boort is Charlton, so the CERT provided a much-improved timeframe of being able to help someone,” she said.
“I was involved in setting up the team in 2003, as treasurer of the committee and an on-road CERT volunteer.”
In late 2016, the team received extra training to transition to Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs), which allowed them to transport patients to hospital.
Ms Boyd said both types of First Responders are important parts of regional areas.
“It links you to your community and allows individuals to give back,” she said.
“Each role is different and has its own benefits.”
Tamara Boyd’s collection of epaulettes.
While working as an ACO, Ms Boyd began studying her Bachelor of Paramedicine, supported by a scholarship from AV targeted at assisting the career progression of First Responders living and working in rural and remote areas of Victoria.
She graduated in May and landed a graduate paramedic position in Maryborough.
Having taken a pathway from volunteer to full-time paramedic, she said she’s content with her position for now.
“I just want to be a fantastic paramedic,” she said.
“And to hopefully return to work closer to Boort one day, and even assist with the Boort ACOs in the future.”