Australasia NAVIGATOR

Becca Barrus

Becca Barrus

Web Exclusives

The 2022 Australasia NAVIGATOR conference was held in November in Melbourne, Australia, and got off to a jubilant start in the opening session where the Dispatcher of the Year and the region’s Accredited Centers of Excellence (ACEs) were announced.

The Dispatcher of the Year was Claire Gilroy, an emergency medical dispatcher (EMD) with Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA). Gilroy is one of WFA’s peer supporters, which involves reaching out to other staff members after traumatic calls or experiences and offering support. Over her impressive career, she’s helped deliver more than 50 babies over the phone using the IAED’s childbirth protocol instructions.

Mel Johnson, EMD Instructor and PDC/IAED contractor in Australia, said Gilroy is “one of the most beautiful, passionate people I know.”

Other nominees for this honor were Emma Gibbons, Joy Leach, Toni Sinai, Grace Roffe, and Lea Costley with Wellington Free Ambulance; Kerrie-Ann White, Ann Collie, Christine McCutcheon, Joanne Young, and Alexandra Pickwell with New South Wales Ambulance; Amelia Mahon and Karina Pell with Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority; and Sasha Dobbs with Queensland Ambulance Service.

ACE agencies are ones that consistently perform at high compliance standards and go all-in to cultivate center pride, teamwork, and innovation by putting their communities first. Agencies with this distinction have completed the IAED’s “20 Points of Accreditation,” a rigorous and measurable set of globally recognized best practices.

SA Ambulance Service, Wellington Free Ambulance, and St John Ambulance New Zealand were all lauded for having maintained their accreditation status by re-accrediting, which can be as difficult as achieving ACE in the first place.

As far as the conference’s educational opportunities went, Renee Kaye, attendee and Shift Development Officer with St John Western Australia, summarized what she learned from three of her favorite sessions: which EMDs make the best mentors, the benefits of implementing quality performance review (QPR) in your center, and how to train the model EMD.

In his session, IAED Mentor Instructor Jonny McMullan with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service described the ideal mentor as someone who is enthusiastic about the job and has a high level of interest and commitment to the mentoring process.

“The best EMD may not always be the best mentor,” McMullan said.

He also discussed the risks and benefits of a mentor program in the emergency response agency as it relates to service delivery. An effective mentor program must have a culture of positivity and learning environment in order for it to thrive. It’s a hugely beneficial tool that coincides with recognition for good work. On the opposite side, there can be a risk of demotivating emergency dispatchers who are not chosen for the program. When the emergency dispatchers are happy, there is less burnout and a higher threshold of patient satisfaction.

Grant Perry with Ambulance Tasmania gave a presentation about how PDC’s QPR program has improved compliance with the protocol and motivated the staff to perform better. He spoke about recognizing that the agency’s culture had to change, establishing trust with the team, and using the challenging areas picked up by the reviewer to conduct bespoke training. Their journey with QPR is assisting Ambulance Tasmania in achieving ACE.

The final session highlighted the importance of providing new emergency dispatchers with structured, consistent information from experienced trainers. Training on the IAED protocols, CAD and other systems, center policy and procedure, legal risks, and first aid are essential in creating the model EMD. This “gold standard” is key in professional longevity.

The IAED was honored to convene this conference for the region’s first, first responders and looks forward to seeing them again in 2023 in Brisbane!