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Supporting patients on scene and over the phone

Supporting patients on scene and over the phone

From a young age, Heidi knew that she wanted to help people and work for the ambulance service – in her words she “couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Heidi, one of our amazing CPAs

Fast forward through a Bachelor’s degree and years of on the job training, Heidi is a Paramedic on Red Shift and a Clinical Paramedic Advisor (CPA) in the 111 Clinical Communications Centre.

“I’ve been around ambulances and paramedics for years. It’s become my life; the people I work with have become my family,” Heidi says.

Though every day is different, Heidi must be on top of her game. In both roles her focus is on ensuring patients are well supported and looked after – the only difference is that one’s on scene, the other is on the phone.

“Wellington Free is quite a leading edge provider in terms of our technology and capabilities and the CPA role is a completely unique roll. It has given me an entirely different set of skills from being a standard paramedic,” Heidi says.

“You have to be confident in your clinical knowledge and the skills you have because the decisions you make have a direct impact on people’s lives. The team I work in keeps me motivated to be better and constantly learn,” she says.

When Heidi isn’t on the frontline in an ambulance, she’s there to call back, reassess, and re-triage if necessary, to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.

This might mean sometimes encouraging the patient to transport themselves to hospital or helping them set up an appointment with their GP; the focus is on ensuring the best care plan for each individual patient.

Being a CPA also gives Heidi the opportunity to support her colleagues out on the road with secondary clinical guidance and support over the phone.

“Crews can call to get extra information about a patient’s medical history, send an ECG for a second opinion or even ask for permission to provide interventions they normally cannot do.

“It's always really rewarding being able to authorise out of scope interventions which means a patient is getting a skill or medication they might not have if I hadn’t been here to assist.

“When it’s busy you feel the pressure and know that the team is doing what they can with our resourcing. It’s about staying focused and helping those on scene with that quick but informed decision. Prioritising workload and balancing risks and benefits for patients is essential in this role.”

Regardless of where she’s working, an overall highlight for Heidi is that she still gets to interact with patients and use her clinical expertise.



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As our patient, and under the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Code of Rights, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • Be fully informed
  • Freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment and exploitation
  • dignity and independence
  • Services of an appropriate standard
  • Effective communication
  • Be fully informed
  • Make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Support
  • Respect of teaching or research
  • Complain

If we don’t respect these, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to put it right.

Support in the process

If you need support or help with making a complaint, you can contact the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner and ask for an advocate.

0800 555 050


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