There are a lot of differences between growing up in a city down south and growing up somewhere rural in the NT. According to St John NT graduate Paramedic Matt Wright (no, not the croc-wrangler) the biggest difference is that unlike southerners, kids in the NT ride kangaroos to school! Just kidding.
“There are exceptions to the rule, but I feel that kids growing up in the NT are so much more connected to the outdoors. As kids, we were always out fishing, camping and swimming. So many great spots are right on our doorstep here in the NT!”
Matt Wright is Katherine born and bred, and now it looks like he’s definitely there to stay. Harbouring a secret desire to be a paramedic for a long time, Matt always got a kick out of helping people. Turning 30 and feeling stagnant in his job pushed him to give Paramedicine a crack.
“I stayed in Katherine and studied full-time by distance with Central Queensland University, travelling to Queensland for placements and residential schools. I have a home and family here in Katherine, so I put all my eggs in one basket and applied for a job with St John NT. I was lucky enough to have it pay off!”
When asked about how a Queensland university prepared him to work in the NT, Matt said there was definitely some aspects lacking.
“Central Queensland University did have a unit early in the course that focused on aspects of Indigenous culture and the typical medical conditions that paramedics are likely to encounter, however, I don’t recall there being much emphasis on renal disease and the flow-on effects that come from missing dialysis appointments. A recurring message throughout my induction with St John NT was about how kidney issues link to missed dialysis”.
Other stand out parts of the induction process included a bit of a miscommunication with Communications!
“We caused a bit of confusion with Comms when we were practicing our fake situation reports on the radios. We had no idea that Comms could actually hear us and we had unknowingly picked a car that was active that day…Whoops!”
“The best part of the induction was getting out to the Hidden Valley Racetrack. As university students, we weren’t allowed to drive at all. It’s such a huge part of the job so it was good to finally get into an ambulance! It made me excited to get out there and sink my teeth into this career.”
Starting something new in a place you have spent your whole life is always going to be daunting, but luckily for Matt, the Katherine team have been great.
“Everyone at the Katherine station has been really welcoming! I’m looking forward to finding my place in the team and really just want to become a competent and respected paramedic. Working as a paramedic, especially on night shifts, I’ve also been able to see an interesting and different side to the town that I thought I knew so well.”
While ‘Safari Song’ by Greta Van Fleet is Matt’s song of the week, if the kids are in the car he’s unfortunately (Matt’s word) listening to ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten!