Front-line of Covid19

We have been reaching out to those in the community who are working at the forefront of COVID-19.

Cam Hoskins (YG 2009)

Alumnus Cam Hoskins (YG 2009) shares his day-to-day experiences in his role as a paramedic.

“It has now been three years since I started my career as a paramedic working with Ambulance Victoria. I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. I entered this profession to make a difference in the lives of people. I believe being a paramedic helps me to build a good and respectable reputation, it gives a strong career foundation and growth including giving me a huge variety of experiences. It most definitely gives me an extremely strong sense of fulfilment.

As a paramedic I need to show resilience every day, not just at the moment as we all go through what could possibly be a once in a lifetime pandemic. Resilience is the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life. Being called in to help someone who is not well, scared and extremely vulnerable can be very stressful not only for me and my partner but also for the families of the patient. We unfortunately cannot prevent this stressful situation from happening but every day my experiences grow, and I feel stronger in my capacity to deal with these challenges.

Moving forward I can only say that to date in Australia have been very successful in reducing the transmission of COVID19. As restrictions start to ease, we as a society need to continue to listen to our politicians and medical experts. We need to heed their advice and continue our physical distancing, keep social activities to a minimum and very importantly keep up with the PPE and the handwashing. Get tested immediately if you have the most minor symptoms. Outbreaks will occur and they will continue to be addressed quickly by case and contact management. To help with this we all need to download the COVID safe app. Continue to stay safe and look out for each other and we will get through this.”

 

Nicola Hogan (YG 2011) 

Since leaving school, I have completed 5 years of undergraduate medicine at Monash University. Currently I am working at Eastern Health as a Medical Registrar, and am preparing for my last exam in Basic Physician Training before specialising.

The hospital has transformed rapidly since March as we test and treat patients with COVID-19. The most dramatic change has been creating new wards and teams responsible for patients who are positive or have been tested for COVID-19. Presently I am working in ICU at Box Hill Hospital where we have looked after several confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients. It has been a learning experience for all involved, including keeping up to date with the latest medical guidelines and making sure we don and doff protective equipment correctly.

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our work and has seen an increase in our use of zoom meetings! The hardest part has been the restriction on visitors in ICU (and COVID wards). While patients have a great team of staff looking after them, they do not replace the physical presence of family and friends at their bedside. Whilst we have all seen changes in education across the board, COVID-19 has also changed education in the hospital system. Medical students are now learning remotely rather than being on the wards.

We are fortunate in Australia that our politicians and leaders acted so swiftly to prevent the rapid case load we have seen overseas. Everyone has been incredibly supportive of the front line workers and I’ve been really touched by the outpouring of gratitude and generosity from the community and numerous individuals. I would encourage people to continue their great work in social distancing as restrictions ease. It is a team effort and we are all in this together!

 

Bianca Jackson (Comfort, YG 2007)

Since becoming qualified as a psychologist I have worked in lots of interesting roles, such as consulting on medical wards at a major teaching hospital, and working in an overseas prison with clients facing the death penalty, however, working during COVID-19 has been an equally interesting and new experience.  

I am grateful that I have had job security during this time, and have been able to work from the safety of my own home. Thankfully, as a response to the pandemic, Medicare introduced new funding for all Australians to access health services remotely (“Telehealth”). Previously, only people living in certain regional or remote areas could access Telehealth services.

It has been an interesting shift to working remotely, as initially it felt awkward and both my clients and I noted the difference. Over time, however, it has started to become normal and I have been pleased to see how my clients have adapted to the new method of interaction. Some of my clients even now prefer videoconferencing to face-to-face sessions! For some it has allowed them more time back in their day from travelling to appointments, opened up more times for attending sessions, or allowed people to feel more comfortable in their own familiar space when discussing sensitive topics.

Whilst many of my clients have experienced difficulties due to COVID-19, some have reported several unexpected positives such as improved relationships, an improved sense of connectedness, better work/life balance, and increased and more flexible access to services. As restrictions begin to ease, I hope we can reflect on our experiences of this pandemic, learning from the hardships, and maintain some of the positives. Personally, I hope to see more flexible work arrangements for all, an increase in the availability of health services via Telehealth, and more deliberate and meaningful connections with friends and family.

If you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out for support. You can speak to your GP or contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Cahill Stevens (YG 2012)

Having some failures along the way is considered fairly normal for a Pilot in training. As a Pilot you are always learning; you learn from your mistakes and keep working to achieve your goal. A skill that is important in both the workplace and school.

I had the opportunity to return to Tintern in 2015 during my final year of my degree speaking with the Year 10 and 11 students about Aviation. I focused on how piloting could be rewarding a career path, particularly for girls. We had identified there is a shortfall of women in this field, and this initiative was a part of a ‘Promoting Women in Aviation’ study we were presenting to Schools in Eastern Melbourne and Swinburne University.

 Initially my career as a Pilot started as a courier driver with TasFast, the freight arm of Vortex Air. It was a chance phone call to a friend that led to this opportunity. My job was to collect freight from around Melbourne, deliver to Tullamarine or Moorabbin for distribution locally and globally. This gave me a great insight into logistics and, after 18 months, the company ‘gave me a shot’ on some training flights where I was accepted to fly for Vortex.

I began single pilot flights at night over the Bass Strait taking freight to mainland Tasmania and King Island. Starting as a single pilot in a small twin engine aircraft over Bass Strait at night is daunting to say the least! You face adverse weather and flying conditions, possibly not experienced in other flying roles. Six months later I was upgraded to a passenger pilot, flying Golfers to some of the best courses in Australia, as well as fire fighter transport throughout Victoria during our fire season. Within 12 months I was given the opportunity to fly the Beech 1900 as a First Officer, and within 6 months of that I was upgraded to Captain.

The aviation industry is a very tight knit community. Networking is best done by maintaining good relationships, positive Airman-ship and talking with people you’ve met along the way. People you train with, instructors who trained you or colleagues are always on different pathways and therefore hold valuable information that you may not have.

I find the best skill is the ability to be flexible. You may not always have opportunities to do things your way which can be challenging, but if you can master flexibility, you’ll really be able to manage challenging environments. I’ve had a few challenges in my short time flying; storms, emergencies and failures, through to sick passengers. These all add to the experience bank and make me better prepared for the future. My goal is to one day be a Captain with Qantas and I believe my current role is really setting me up for a great future in this field.

Donna Pouw (YG 2009)

I was a bit of an all-rounder at Tintern Girls Grammar and loved to participate in sports, dancing and musicals. In my final year at Tintern I was an Oaktree Foundation Vice Captain and it’s fortuitous that in this role, I found my unexpected enthusiasm for coordinating a charity event for the school, which led to my career interest in marketing.

After university I worked at a number of Melbourne based marketing agencies to build up my skills. Some of my career highlights to date include securing the front page story of the Sunday Age for White Night Melbourne for my client Visit Victoria, hosting iconic British band Spandau Ballet and international model Gigi Hadid in the Emirates Marquee at the Melbourne Cup Carnival, and traveling to the remote Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory to provide communications support for local Aboriginal artists.

Amongst the various projects and exciting experiences I gained from working agency-side, I was seeking a broader marketing role that aligned with my personal values and provided support and change for the community. This led me to working at Victoria Police as a Senior Marketing Advisor, developing and implementing behaviour change, social marketing and advertising campaigns that help keep the community safe.

I would usually say building resilience and adapting to change are all too common phrases you will hear when working in communications, but this is now something we are all experiencing within the community due to Covid-19. I have so much respect for those on the frontline who are working to keep our community safe on a daily basis. It’s a difficult and uncertain time for many, and while we’ve certainly not returned to our sense of ‘normal’, I hope everyone is staying connected with family and friends, seeking the support they need and most importantly, staying safe.

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