Arriving from Singapore three months ago, international Bachelor of Paramedicine student Max Han says his interest in paramedicine began during his national service in Singapore.
“In Singapore, all males have to do National Service for two years when we turn 18. I was a Combat Medic in the army.”
As a Combat Medic, Max was taught skills such as intravenous cannulation, intra-muscular injections and combat injury management. National service also gave him the opportunity to work as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the civilian ambulance services for three months. This experience cemented Max’s decision to join his country’s emergency services and make paramedicine his career.
“The teaching of paramedicine in Australia is highly regarded,” said Max. “As there is no paramedicine degree programme currently available in Singapore, my employers picked Monash as their university of choice due to the high quality of education offered.”
So far, Max has been enjoying the course and feels that it’s in line with what he wants to achieve as a Paramedic.
“The course is very particular about clinical skills and professionalism, and I love that,” he says.
Max continues to explain how the newly introduced Professionalism in Paramedic Practice module teaches first-year students the importance of mental well-being and communication.
“In paramedicine, communication is so important. You can be 100% sure of your clinical knowledge and skills but still struggle with communicating medical information. Establishing rapport with your patient is a nuanced art and much more complex than practising your clinical skills on manikins. It’s crucial to deliver your service and care in a patient-centred manner. At the same time, you have to also be on top of your own mental health at all times. It’s great that the course places considerable emphasis on that.”
Max has now made Peninsula Campus his home and lives on campus in Gillies Hall. He describes the residential accommodation as cosy and well-designed. He is also very impressed with the campus’ commitment to students’ physical and psychological well-being, be it through student-organised activities or the range of professional services available.
“I really enjoy living in an environment that allows you to become independent, but at the same time offers plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in campus life and interact with other students.” says Max. “There are so many opportunities to get involved! I absolutely adore making pancakes every Thursday, together with our lovely Chaplain Mandy and our fellow ‘pancake warriors’.”
Max proudly points out the weekly pancake initiative aims to provide a piping hot supply of pancakes to students on campus, from 8-10am every Thursday during the academic term!
Further to this, Max also volunteers his time for various PhD studies.
“My interest in research has led me to volunteer for PhD studies on campus. There are a considerable number of students at Peninsula doing research and I recently had the privilege of having my brain covered in electrodes for motor neuron stimulation, it was very interesting.”
In terms of his own future ambitions, Max hopes to enter the paramedic honours program and conduct his own research.
“Paramedics operate in such a hugely stressful environment and there are so many factors to take into consideration. In addition to clinical guidelines, it would be great if there were novel ways to better the patient’s experience in the ambulance, perhaps by alleviating their suffering through newfound psycho-therapeutic methods.”
Following his studies, Max will eventually return to Singapore where he will continue his work with the emergency services, contributing to the advancements in the field of paramedicine. Until then, Max’s advice to future paramedic students is that if they want an education giving them a holistic experience, and one that also gives them a certain standing in their field, Monash is the place to be.