Journal Staff


By Journal Staff

Narelle Smith, a Queensland (Australia) Ambulance Service (QAS) EMD, seldom looks back on her former career in the insurance industry. It’s not that she disliked the business or was actively looking for a new job at the time; she was, however, suddenly faced with two life-changing options.

Smith could move to Brisbane when the company’s branch office in Rockhampton closed or drop the insurance line to start a new career. She chose the latter, and five years down the road emphatically believes she made the right choice.

Smith, who has been with the QAS Rockhampton “Rocky” Operations Centre since 2008, received the Emergency Dispatcher of the Year Award at the QAS Star Care Awards ceremony held in September 2013 in Kedron. During a brief acceptance speech, Smith said the award was very humbling, thanked her peers for the nomination, and insisted her co-workers were equally as deserving.

“This award doesn’t just belong to me,” she said. “We work as a team at QAS.”

Smith said her decision to stay in Rockhampton and change careers has been the most rewarding she’s ever made.

“I now can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said.

Queensland is the second largest and third most populous state in Australia. QAS serves the entire state and is divided into seven regions; each region has its own communication center to answer calls and dispatch response—the Rockhampton center is in the Central Region.

QAS dispatchers are EMD certified. There are five levels of EMDs, with levels III and up qualifying for the annual award. Other Star Care Awards were presented to the Paramedic of the Year, Station of the Year, and Young Hero of the Year.