Providing hope from above

Lessening someone’s suffering by providing timely care is a job worth showing up for. That’s the lesson one Life Flight crew member, Wellington Free Ambulance Intensive Care Flight Paramedic Nigel Stephens, hopes to impart this Sunday.

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“At the end of the day, it’s the team that gets a patient to hospital. And if we can go home and say ‘we made a difference today, we’ve made a difference in someone or other people’s lives’, that’s good enough for us.”

Wellingtonians can expect an action-packed day full of emergency service demonstrations when the Life Flight Air Rescue Centre opens its doors to the public this Sunday 19 March. 

And Nigel will be there to explain what it means to be part of such an incredible team.

Nicknamed ‘The Beaver’ for his work ethic, he is a key player in the Life Flight rescue team, whose job it is to make someone’s worst day a little better.

When a 111 call comes in, and speed to a hospital is critical or the location is remote and difficult, the Life Flight helicopter emergency medical service moves into action.

The Westpac sponsored Life Flight Helicopter operates throughout the Greater Wellington, Wairarapa and Marlborough regions, in a team effort to save lives.

Nigel started his career working in Nelson as a registered nurse, and a St John Paramedic.

However, he joined Wellington Free Ambulance over 10 years ago, first as a junior officer then qualifying as an Intensive Care Paramedic, followed by an Intensive Care Flight Paramedic.

His current role is multifaceted, attending numerous jobs from car crashes, to near drownings, and search and rescues. “It certainly can be a challenging environment,” he says.

But one aspect of the job that is particularly rewarding for him is working with a dedicated, multidisciplinary team.

“We all have an incredible responsibility. Often, we are invited into people’s lives at a time of crisis and chaos.

“And, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, there is always going to be a need for what we do.

“But when someone’s in a moment of need and distress, they’ve called for help, and they hear that chopper, then it gives them hope.

“At the end of the day, it’s the team that gets a patient to hospital. And if we can go home and say ‘we made a difference today, we’ve made a difference in someone or other people’s lives’, that’s good enough for us.”


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