CRITICAL ROLE: Senior Lecturer Sam Willis plays a critical role in helping paramedic students achieve their academic goals.
CRITICAL ROLE: Senior Lecturer Sam Willis plays a critical role in helping paramedic students achieve their academic goals.

From saving lives to teaching others

AFTER thousands of calls and countless medical emergencies, University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Ipswich Senior Paramedic Lecturer Sam Willis can still recall the moment he knew he wanted to save lives.

"I was 12 and I remember seeing the blue lights of the ambulance and the paramedics in their green uniforms working on a situation where there was a horrific car crash," he said.

"While others went about their business, the paramedics were the ones who had to deal with this traumatic incident and that inspired me to want to be a person who can help someone in their most urgent time of need."

Mr Willis experienced everything during his eight years as a paramedic with the London Ambulance Service, from minor injuries on the sporting field to gunshot and stabbing attacks.

Now, five years on, he's teaching the next generation of paramedics in his first year at USQ, educating students a balance of theory and clinical practice during their Bachelor of Paramedicine degree.

From saving lives to educating others, Mr Willis said the main reason he became a lecturer was to help students improve and show how they could make a difference in the community.

In the time he was a paramedic, Mr Willis said the best thing about the high-paced job was the fulfilment he got helping people. He stated that delivering his first baby was a highlight of his clinical career.

Co-author of the Wiley-Blackwell textbook, Fundamentals of Paramedic Practice: A Systems Approach, Mr Willis' previous roles included Emergency Medical Despatcher, Paramedic Lecturer Practitioner and Training Officer before his first teaching position as a Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Emergency Care at Oxford Brookes University.

Raised in Halifax, Yorkshire, before moving to Australia in 2013 to further his career and challenge himself, Mr Willis' unbridled enthusiasm for paramedicine and passion for teaching made him an ideal choice to help launch USQ's newest degree, Bachelor of Paramedicine.

This is the first year USQ has offered Bachelor of Paramedicine to train future employees of critical areas such as ambulance, intensive care paramedicine, emergency and disaster management, flight rescue services and community education.

There are 133 students in the first year of the new USQ program, as well as 129 second and third year University of Queensland students who are completing their degree under a co-operative teaching arrangement.



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