Health commitment recognised

RECOGNISED: Former Mount Gambier resident Kristie Cook was announced last week as a recipient of the Public Service Medal for her time working with the SA Ambulance Service.
COMMITTED: Kristie Cook will visit Government House in Adelaide in the coming months to receive the Public Service Medal for her dedication to the SA Ambulance Service.

HELPING to improve health services across regional South Australia and implementing projects from the Limestone Coast to Ceduna, former Mount Gambier resident Kristie Cook has been awarded the Public Service Medal.

Dedicating almost 13 years to the SA Ambulance Service, Ms Cook was announced as the first recipient of the coveted medal for the service in the 2018 Australia Day honours.

“It was a big surprise, I certainly do not think I go above and beyond, I just do my job so it is lovely to be recognised,” she said.

Initially working as a regional office coordinator providing administrative support across the South East, Ms Cook has held various positions within the service and established relationships with other SA Health directorates, consumers, non-government organisations, general practitioners and the large SA Ambulance volunteers sector.

In 2012, SA Ambulance successfully gained Federal Government funding for the implementation of the extended care paramedic project across the Limestone Coast and Port Lincoln.

Unfortunately, this project received no further funding beyond the end of the grant funding in 2014, however, following this, Ms Cook secured a position to work on the community paramedic project, which is currently run from Ceduna and Robe.

Now based in Adelaide working as the project coordinator, Ms Cook said it was a completely different service delivery model that has never been implemented in the ambulance service before.

“There are intensive care paramedics that work alongside the primary and secondary health providers in the communities,” she said.

“They work within the communities to support other health care providers such as general practitioners, community health and allied health services and they are also able to provide a high level of clinical support to South Australian Ambulance Service volunteers within the areas.”

Pleased with how the project has been received in both of the South Australian towns, Ms Cook said the rapport between paramedics and the community was really something quite special.

“In Ceduna there is a large indigenous focus and the impact the project has had on that community has been amazing,” she said.

“It is so rewarding to see the interaction between the paramedics and the indigenous community.

“The project has had such a positive impact in both towns for different reasons and we are hoping we will be able to secure ongoing funding.”

Although focused primarily on administration work with the SA Ambulance Service, Ms Cook has also dabbled in the clinical side of the service.

Last year, the dedicated worker completed ambulance officer training and worked a number of shifts in the position before moving to Adelaide.

Passionate about her work and committed to the job, Ms Cook said she was thankful for the opportunities she has been given and the friends made along the way.

“I never thought I would stay in a job nearly 13 years, but I have been given so many fantastic opportunities to try new things,” she said.

“The people I have met throughout my time with SA Ambulance Service are some of my best friends, we are like one big family.

“I am probably one of the few people who can say I love my job – no day is ever the same, I love the unpredictability of it and it is rewarding.”

Unaware of the people who were involved in her nomination, Ms Cook extended a large thank you to them for the recognition.
In the coming months she will visit Government House in Adelaide for an official ceremony and award presentation.