EXPERTS WITHIN THEIR FIELDS : By Michelle Dryburgh
Donna Winkworth – St John Ambulance NT Paramedic of the Year
Behind the scenes of saving lives
It takes a special kind of person to respond to life and death situations, and still put a smile on someone’s face. For Donna Winkworth and her fellow paramedics at St John Ambulance, it’s all in a days work.
At a moments notice, they’re called to the scene of road accidents, mishaps in the home or workplace and medical emergencies. They’re faced with serious injuries and illness on a daily basis, sometimes multiple people needing help, and often comforting distressed loved ones at the same time as saving lives.
But for Donna, the most rewarding moments come from the simplest of actions.
“Knowing I can help someone who is having a really terrible day. Seeing a smile on the face of someone who is unwell or hurt, knowing you’ve made them feel better.”
It’s that winning attitude that saw Donna recently named St John Ambulance NT Paramedic of the Year.
Since joining the service in 2008 she’s had many memorable days on the job, especially those with a positive outcome.
One such case was assisting a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest in 2010.
“He later walked out of the hospital to return home and continue a healthy and fulfilling life with his family. He wrote a letter to the ambulance officers involved, thanking them for saving his life.”
Another memory is of a young man who sustained serious spinal injuries in a motorbike accident training for the Finke Dessert Race.
“I travelled in the helicopter with him which was a first for me and an environment I had never worked in before. Whilst it was a challenging job and the young man was seriously injured, it was pleasing to later learn he never gave up the fight to walk again.”
Donna has followed in the footsteps of her mother, also a paramedic, and always felt a calling to the medical field.
Since joining St John Ambulance she has achieved many impressive milestones, including Student Paramedic of the Year in 2010, completing her Diploma in Paramedical Science the following year, and Bachelor of Science (Paramedical) in 2013. Topped off with being awarded Paramedic of the Year 2015.
“I was shocked yet so happy and excited. I felt so proud of myself. Also very honoured the public and my peers nominated me,” says Donna.
“I would like to think these situations we are faced with has had a positive affect on my own views in life. I try to be a caring and compassionate person who always tries to be good to those around me. It’s always very important to tell your loved ones how much you love them.”