Service marks a milestone

Forbes paramedics Amber McDonald and Harriet Moore.
Forbes paramedics Amber McDonald and Harriet Moore.

If you call an ambulance in Forbes, there's actually a pretty good chance women will respond to your call.

This year marks 40 years since women first joined the NSW Ambulance Service and in 2019 it is commonplace to see women in the force.

Our local station actually has seven women, and four men.

Five of them were on duty last week, and chatted to the Advocate about how things have changed since the first woman in NSW, Lee Clout, earned her cap badge.

Our local paramedics Kylie Sherritt, Natalie Carthew, Kara West, Amber McDonald and Harriet Moore have been in the service anywhere between two and 12 years.

By the time they entered the service, gender simply wasn't a factor during recruitment.

And Natalie has noticed a shift in the profession in the past five years compared to her earlier years.

"There's more women in management, and more younger women in the job," she observes.

The latest figures published by the NSW Ambulance Service show women make up 40.8 per cent of the workforce, and 36 per cent of operational staff.

And locally, they love it.

"I have the best job in the world," Harriet says. "I tell everyone."

"She does," Amber attests.

It's the people and the diversity of every day that makes the job so special for the crew. That and the fact they get to make a difference on someone's worst day.

"We go to different places, meet different people, hear different stories," Kylie says.

"We love hearing their stories, we love hearing their pearls of wisdom," Amber adds.

So if gender isn't a factor, what does make for a good paramedic?

Patience, resilience, a sense of humour, compassion or empathy - and let's not forget being a team player.

"We spend so much time together," Natalie says.

"And we rely on each other," Kylie adds.

Forbes paramedics Kylie Sherritt, Natalie Carthew and Kara West.

Forbes paramedics Kylie Sherritt, Natalie Carthew and Kara West.