NSW Ambulance celebrates 40 years of female paramedics in active service

Paramedics Jo Fenney and Katie Watson serve Harden and Young Ambulance service respectively.
Paramedics Jo Fenney and Katie Watson serve Harden and Young Ambulance service respectively.

Female paramedics are being recognised by NSW Ambulance this week as it celebrates 40 years of women in active service.

Harden-based paramedic Jo Fenney said it's a great time to be a paramedic in the NSW Ambulance service, with a huge amount of opportunities available.

Jo, originally from Sydney, moved to London in 2015 and served in the London Ambulance service for two-and-a-half years.

Young paramedic Katie Watson recently completed training and is now a qualified paramedic.

Since changing careers from vet nursing, Katie has also worked with Newcastle and Gilgandra Ambulance service.

"It's a great job because it allows you to travel. There's stations all across NSW, all across the world, so the world is your oyster," Jo said.

"I've been so grateful," Katie added.

"I would never have lived at Newcastle. I've seen a lot of NSW and met a lot of people."

Jo and Katie identified challenges paramedics face everyday including fatigue, peoples' grief and attending confronting situations.

But their ability to make a difference in a short period of time outweighs any negatives related to the job.

"You can make a real difference in a short time," Jo said.

"We get more and more skilled each year. We have amazing skills now, amazing drugs and the ability to make an absolute difference to peoples' lives.

"It's a great asset for the public to have highly skilled paramedics who can have such an impact on their recovery."

Jo said delivering a baby has been one of the highlights of the job. She's delivered five babies since joining the Ambulance service in 2009.

Katie has helped deliver one since beginning in 2017.

Katie added that she enjoys "thinking on her feet" and being "creative at times" in emergency situations.

"We have [patients] in an uncontrolled environment in a short-term," she said.

Between Young, Harden and Boorowa Ambulance services, seven out of 18 positions are filled by female paramedics.

Along with Jo and Katie are Tamara Smith in Young, Emma Nugent and Danni Murrell in Harden and Corrine Dickinson who recently joined Boorowa.