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2016 Scholarship Winner Phoebe Rose James-Gilman – Paramedicine, Charles Sturt University

2016 Scholarship Winner Phoebe Rose James-Gilman – Paramedicine, Charles Sturt University

paramediclogo2During high school I was one of those driven students who loved school, learning about the sciences, enjoyed spending my weekends in scouts and hanging out with friends and because of that people always assumed I had it all together and knew exactly where I wanted to go in life… Honestly I had no clue!

Thoughout the HSC I struggled with ideas for degrees as I had always wanted to be either a paramedic or a doctor but lacked the confidence and mental strength needed to work in a career in the medicines. Because of that I dropped paramedic from the top of my preferences and replaced it with a bachelor of biomedicine at the University of Newcastle where I could study close to home and didn’t have to stretch out of my comfort zone at all. At first it seemed like a great idea! It was easy and not mentally tolling at all, but by the end of semester one I had myself still thinking about being a paramedic every day and becoming increasingly bored in a degree based all on knowledge and rarely on practice. Scared of whether I could mentally cope with the often confronting events of being a paramedic, this is what held me back until a Thursday afternoon a week before UAC main applications closed in August.

That afternoon our neighbour’s 8 year old daughter had a seizure and drowned in the bath and her mother came to us for help while they awaited an ambulance. Having done scouts all my life I started CPR and directed her father in what to do to help when the ambulance arrived. He dried her off and moved her to the open floor while I continued CPR and when the paramedics arrived they had me assist in preparing her for life support. Unfortunately the following morning she was pronounced brain dead and they advised her life support be shut off but before then her family chose to donate her organs, making her the second youngest Australian (only second by months) to become a national organ donor.

I received a note from the doctors at John Hunter Hospital saying that the CPR I did was so perfect that although I was unable to save her, I gave her the best chance at survival and I kept her organs alive until help arrived and because of that I am the reason they had the option to donate. Together we saved 4 lives of seriously ill children across Australia. This gave me the strength I needed to apply, knowing I could handle just about anything life throws at me. 1 week after I applied I received an early round offer into CSU Bathurst in a Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic) and commence study in 1 week!

I’m doing this for Milly, I’m following my dreams because she showed me I can!

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