Making marks as a woman in paramedicine

02 March 2021
Volume 11 · Issue 1


After becoming Australia's first woman to achieve a doctorate in paramedicine, Louise Reynolds reflects on her journey, the challenges she was faced with and the sometimes tough decisions along the way

Like many young people in their senior year at high school, I distinctly remember the pressure and expectation to decide on my university course preferences. At 17 years of age, making this decision about the rest of my life was daunting. I knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare or medicine, and had aspirations to be a doctor. Medicine as a career choice was supported by my mother who was a registered nurse and midwife, and felt that nurses were still ‘handmaidens’ to doctors.

Somewhat fortuitously, I didn't get into medicine but was offered a place in a medical science programme. I learned even more about myself during this time than I did of the intended curriculum. Learning that I am a natural extrovert, working in a hospital routine diagnostic laboratory with very little social interaction would not be for me.

A blessing in disguise—for which I am eternally grateful—was a chance conversation with a family friend who mentioned that the ambulance was recruiting, and asked whether I had thought about applying. I was working in a retail community pharmacy at the time, so was looking for full-time work and thought that it would be a good fit for me: people and health care.

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