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Paramedic upgrades her life saving skills

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Leonie Ireland is now a fully qualified MICA paramedic. PHOTO - Ambulance Victoria

By Kate Taylor

Leonie Ireland is one of those lucky people that gets to do a job that they love.
She doesn’t quite get to jump out of bed every morning to do her job – it’s a 10/14 shift roster that she works on – but the idea is still the same.
Leonie has recently qualified as a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance paramedic, finishing off a long process.
“There’s stages to becoming a MICA paramedic,” Leonie explained.
She started with a three-year Batchelor of Clinical Practice Emergency Health, then it was back to Uni for her Specialist Emergency Health qualification and, after more studying and a panel assessment as well as experience on the road as a regular paramedic and more examinations, Leonie graduated as a MICA earlier this year.
“I still love it and hence the further study. I always wanted to continue to further myself, and in doing the MICA course it allows you to have more skills, more knowledge and therefore be able to do more for your patient and my whole intention as a paramedic is to do as much as I can for a person,” she said.
After driving from her home in Ballan and clocking on for a shift in Ballarat, where her MICA team is based, Leonie goes into her work not knowing what will come up.
“It can be anyone that’s requiring us – they could have an arrythmia, abnormality in their heart rhythm, it can be going to patients in road accidents or having a stroke, anyone that requires to be intubated we can do that, it can also mean decompressing chests which means putting needles into a person’s chests that have had chest trauma, putting needles into bones – lots of intense things.
“It’s what’s amazing about the job, every day is a new challenge,” Ms Ireland said.
MICA paramedics first began in Victoria in 1971; both paramedic training and MICA vehicles have since been continually specialised to a much higher level than regular ambulances.
Paramedics can qualify in a range of specialist areas, including wilderness, aquatic and flight.
As Ambulance Victoria states, dialling Triple-000 must be reserved for emergencies only.