In the beginning narrowing down the possible career options was a daunting task but it was her interest in science, particularly Biology and a focus on human anatomy and physiology that ignited the next step.
With the help of the careers advisor at school, Sam was lucky enough to partake in an observer shift to see the day-to-day work frontline paramedics at Wellington Free Ambulance experience.
As chance would have it, this particular day was said to be ‘unusually quiet’ – something of a rare occurrence – nonetheless, Sam says she felt incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to release her passion in caring for people in need, particularly those facing challenging and vulnerable times in their lives.
But unbeknown to Sam, this day was just a very small taste of what was going to be the beginning of her road to becoming a paramedic.
Fast-forward a few months and Sam enrolled in the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedicine) programme at Whitireia.
Over the next three years, Sam and her paramedicine student peers each spent around 900 hours on clinical placements, which ranged anywhere from working on an emergency ambulance, to spending time in a number of hospital environments assisting with a natural birth in maternity or observing someone undergoing a stent procedure in the cardiac catheterisation lab.
They also spent many hours on campus doing theory work and participating in more hands-on study including practicing critical skills on plastic mannequins.
Sam decided to put the skills she had learnt into further practice by volunteering for Wellington Free as an event medic while she finished her degree.
“These years were certainly not without their challenges, however, having now recently graduated I feel a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement,” Sam says.
“The power of a positive attitude, passion, hard work and perseverance does go a long way in achieving your goals and making a difference.”
Sam is now three months into her year-long graduate internship, working fulltime on Brown Shift alongside Intensive Care Paramedic Martin Hill.
“The unpredictable nature of the job means that no two days are the same. Each day comes with its own unique challenges, never knowing quite what you may be faced with. But the dynamic environment keeps the job interesting and often involves thinking on your feet when under pressure,” Sam says.
That said, she explains that it’s reassuring to know the team is more than happy to answer any questions and offer their support.
“To enter people’s lives, at a time when physical pain and emotions may be running high; to be able to offer help or comfort in some way to improve their situation is a humbling and hugely rewarding experience.”