Global experience has prepared me for life as a Paramedic

My name is Dennis Mahony and I’m a full-time Bachelor of Paramedic Science student. This is my final year of study and I graduate in the next three months.

I’ve recently returned from an international placement – an opportunity that I was lucky to have been given as a CQUni student – and something which opened my eyes to what life will be like when I finally become a Paramedic.

I was granted the unique experience to study two weeks of on-road placement with American Medical Response (AMR) in Portland, Oregon USA. A team of eight – myself and seven other colleagues, with our team leader/lecturer – met with our respective crews from AMR. We were assigned shifts with our crews and did a full shift rotation spread over two weeks. It was very exciting getting hands-on experience with another ambulance service in a busy city. Throughout the two weeks I developed a great friendship with my crew, learnt many things from my American mentors and they, in-turn, learnt a lot from me. Together we found that there were many differences in teaching styles and work methods between America and Australia but also many similarities – delivering first-class pre-hospital emergency care to those in need is global!


I even had my American crew speaking some Aussie slang by the end of our two weeks together, much to their (and my) amusement. Not to mention the various patients who got to hear such language being spoken in the back of the ambulance.

During our days off shift, we extensively explored the city of Portland and the surrounding countryside, including Mount Hood. We were even invited for a weekend out to a wilderness survival course for American Doctors and Paramedics, held in the forests at the base of Mount Hood. We got to meet various health professionals and we also got to dress up and play as their ‘patients’ – a culmination of the wilderness survival course ending in various wilderness survival scenarios. It was a great weekend and it offered the opportunity to see wilderness medicine in practice. It certainly was an inspiration for me, and reinforced my desire to become a paramedic.


I’m a mature-age student and decided to take up CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Paramedic Science program because I was at a period in my life where I didn’t have job satisfaction. I felt I needed a career again, an occupation to be proud of. CQUni offered just the sort of program and study style I was after, a Bachelor of Paramedic Science, with the option of studying via distance education.

The idea of distance education was daunting for me at the beginning – and some of the questions that I initially asked myself included:-

  • how am I going to study full time and not even set foot on a campus every day?
  • how will I interact with my teachers and fellow students?

But once I was enrolled and through my first term, I realised that this style of education was very flexible and could be tailored to suit individual lifestyles. Sure, the workload is considered full-time, but you can study it when you like, where you like and how you like. As long as you have a computer, internet access and meet the requirements of each term, studying via distance education offers the same benefits as full-time campus study.

The support network, content delivery and peer-to-teacher contact time has been excellent. Not all of it is isolated either and you still meet fellow students during contact time at residential and skills schools. I have made some excellent friends during these times and have nurtured these relationships throughout my three years of study.

As a student studying Paramedicine, I am most looking forward to graduating with the skills and knowledge required to become a Paramedic in an Ambulance Service. The great thing about the CQUni Paramedic Science program is that it is recognised nationally, which means that I can apply for and work with any ambulance service Australia-wide.

For anyone thinking about studying CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Paramedic Science program, I say this to you: whilst it is certainly about the ‘destination’ of graduating and becoming a Paramedic, it is also the ‘journey’ that makes this degree great. The education and support network is second to none and the hands-on practice with residential schools and ambulance services reinforces the theory you have learnt. Not to mention the strong friendships that you will foster along the way.

>> Do you get a kick from helping people out? Find out about the Bachelor of Paramedic Science and more at CQUniversity’s Townsville Open Day on Sunday, 10 September from 9am-1pm. To register or to find out more, visit

CQUniversity Australia (

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