I remember feeling petrified, isolated and apprehensive.
Late 2001 is when my family and I arrived in Australia fleeing a war-torn country. Escaping war and its remnants was something indescribable, something unimaginable. It’s a life experience that is hard to understand if you haven’t lived it yourself.
Arriving in Australia was daunting but it was also the most positive change that could have happened to me. I started primary school in grade three but before that, education was a luxury. I didn’t know my ABC’s or simple numbers. I didn’t know how to interact with anyone outside my family due to the isolation of war.
Juan came to Australia in 2001
But, war…it teaches you something else.
It teaches you persistence, endurance and tenacity. It fractures you but also rebuilds you. A couple of years later, my brother was born with a rare congenital abnormality. This was what inspired me to become a paramedic.
As tacky as it sounds, I want to give back to a country that gave me the most basic things; food, shelter, education. And some things which are not so basic: endless possibilities and a life without fear. I wanted to become a paramedic for my parents, for myself and most importantly for my brother and all those who have been involved in saving his life.
Juan as a young child with her family
Working within the non-emergency sector as an Ambulance Attendant before becoming a paramedic taught me many great values. It opened my eyes to the individualised care we provide and enhanced my communication skills as well as my ability to adapt. It showed me that each case is different and how to deal with it both appropriately and professionally.
You tend to make friends with the patients in non-emergency. You know them by name, you know what they like and who their family is. You do your best to make them smile, make them laugh or even simple things like making funny jokes that really aren’t funny but make them laugh anyway. These are the values I will bring to work every day as a paramedic. These are the values that will make a difference treating someone who could be anxious or scared.
My experience in the non-emergency sector has helped to prepare me to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been many instances where I’ve had to suit up and provide treatment to those who are either confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Yes, this pandemic has been challenging and has brought many changes to our work and the way we live.
But, this is why I wanted to be a paramedic and work alongside other highly trained individuals. I thrive in challenging situations and want to provide Best Care to every single patient and give back to the community that helped me grow and get to where I am today.
While that’s my story it’s a work in progress. There are many chapters still to be written and I am thrilled that they will unfold at Ambulance Victoria.
Juan Audish in her AV uniform