Southland Paramedic gets award
Annabel Taylor with the Otago Regional Rescue helicopter BK117 ZK-HUP providing the backdrop.
Annabel Taylor is a top flight paramedic who has just been awarded a $3000 Rural Women New Zealand /Access Scholarship. This will be of considerable assistance to her while she studies for 12 months at Wellington’s Whitireia Polytechnic for a postgraduate certificate in specialty care and advanced paramedic practice. This is an advanced course that involves distance education as well as in-house attendance on a block course for one year.
Currently Annabel works for both the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter and the St John Ambulance Service. She was chosen for the advanced course from 30 applicants. An Access spokesperson said Annabel was selected by the panel “because of her academic excellence, professional dedication in providing medical care to remote and isolated rural communities and for the potential benefit he study could bring to the rural sector.”
Trained as a nurse in Dunedin Hospital, she began work in the intensive care ward of that hospital before moving to a base hospital at Griffith in New South Wales. There she worked as a practice nurse without any available doctor and in the two years she was there, became a clinical nurse specialising in critical care nursing.
Returning to New Zealand, Annabel became a rural nurse based at Haast on the West Coast where no other medical treatment was available. She enjoyed her time in that position and was most grateful for the strong community support. While in Haast she studied for and passed the examination for the Primary Response in Medical Emergency qualification.
After a move to Te Anau, Annabel began her long association with helicopters and rescue work. Then as now, helicopters were involved in a significant number of rescues. The idea of working with rapid response helicopter rescue teams appealed to her, so she sought advice on how to become involved with these operations from Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter crewman and advanced paramedic Doug Flett, whom she had known from her days in Dunedin.
At his invitation she spent several days with the Otago Regional Rescue Team and was thrilled by the experience. When a position on the team became vacant in 2010 she applied for and was accepted for the position.
Annabel is currently based in Taieri and balances her work for the rescue team with being a field nurse for St John. She enjoys working with a very professional team and is deeply grateful for the tremendous support from the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust. She feels she is privileged to help the community with her special skills.
- Report by Peter Owens, photograph by Craig Baxter ODT.
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