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Emergency 
Medical Dispatch 
Support Officer 
(EMDSO)

Information 
Session 
2021



  We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of 
Country throughout South Australia and recognise 
their continuing connection to land, their 
spirituality, history and culture. We pay our 
respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

  We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the 
traditional custodians of the Adelaide region and 
that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as 
important to the living Kaurna people today.

Acknowledgement



Covered in this session

  Overview of the Emergency Medical Dispatch 
Officer (EMDSO) role within SA Ambulance 
Service (SAAS)

  The people best suited to the role
  The application and selection process steps 

explained
  Pre-employment checks 
  Induction and training
  A day in the life of an EMDSO



In an organisation that delivers a very  hands on  service to 
people through people, it is important to have the right people 

working in, and volunteering with, SAAS.

When you read the praise from patients (or families) it makes 
you feel good and you can see why SAAS people are rated so 

highly in the community  for trust and compassion.  

These are the type of people that make SAAS what it is.

David Place, CEO Blog 15 April 2019

SAAS Values



SAAS Values





Emergency Operations Centre 
(EOC)

  Responds to and coordinates resources across 984,377 Km 
  1 Central Emergency Operations Centre
  245,329 Emergency calls received (2019/20)
  76,951 Non-emergency calls received (2019/20)
  Offers first aid advice prior to Ambulance arrival



Overview of the EMDSO role:

  153 Full Time Employees
  5 Teams to cover the roster including annual leave
  Variety of positions on the team EMDSO, EMDSO TL, Metro EMD, 

PTS EMD, Region EMD, EMD TL, HNC
  All staff start as an EMDSO before being able to apply for other 

positions within the EOC



  You are the first point of contact for SA Ambulance for 000 calls across SA 

  Be empathetic and assist vulnerable people during their time of need

  Assess a patient s medical situation over the phone using a specific 
computer based triage system

Overview of the EMDSO role:

  Give step by step first aid instructions so 
management of the patient can begin 
immediately



  Provide reassurance and use assertive communication and problem 
solving skills to help guide and determine the most appropriate 
pathway for the patient

  Receive calls via our non-emergency line from hospitals and care 
giving facilities to organise non-urgent transport for patients

Overview of the EMDSO role:



  Use a complex computer system with multiple screens for 
the duration of a 12 hour shift, with scheduled breaks

  Type quickly and accurately to record information whilst 
actively listening and supporting the caller

  Work in a highly supervised, structured and scripted 
environment

Overview of the EMDSO role:



  Take emergency calls one after the other, understanding you 
may not ever know the outcome of the patient

  Deal with serious trauma during every shift, and will need to 
manage your own emotional wellbeing

Overview of the EMDSO role:

  Multitask and remain calm in a high 
pressure environment

  Work within a rotating roster of 12 hour 
shifts, day or night, which can involve 
weekends and public holidays, 
meaning family/social events may be 
missed



  General Public - requesting attendance or advice

  Hospitals &amp; Residential Care Facilities   Emergencies or requiring patient 
transportation or end of life advice and support

  Emergency Service Organisations SAPol, MFS, CFS, SES etc

  Call Direct   SA Ambulance emergency medical alarm monitoring service

  SA Trauma Service   consultation for rural/remote facilities with major 
trauma centres

  Liaise with colleagues or other Emergency Service Organisations (ESO) on 
shift 

  MedicAlert  

  SAAS Staff

  Mental Health Clinicians

EMDSO s Communicate With:



  People who are adaptable to change and ready for anything yet can work 
in a highly supervised, structured and scripted environment 

  People who are resilient and able to work in a high pressure environment

  People who have high emotional intelligence and can handle dealing with 
trauma and stress on a regular basis

  People who are able to work a 12 hour rotating roster

  People who possess high levels of accuracy and attention to detail with 
the ability to multi-task

  People who possess well developed communication and interpersonal 
skills 

  People who are prepared for a challenging but rewarding career

We are looking for:



Current recruitment process:
  Driven by EMDSO Leadership Team in conjunction with 

SAAS Recruitment team

  Supported by the Ambulance Employees Association

  Advertised on:
  SA Health Careers Page sahealthcareers.com.au
  I WORK FOR SA iworkfor.sa.gov.au

  Applications will be accepted untill 16 March 2022

  Applicant who wish to be considered for induction programs 
which are currently scheduled to commence in July and 
September 2021 must submit their completed application 
before 12 April 2021

  If successful, applicants are placed in a candidate pool





Steps in Recruitment Process:

1. Online 
Application

2. Eligibility 
Checks &amp; Initial 

Shortlisting

4. Psychometri
c Assessment

3. Online 
Technical 

Assessment

6. Referee 
Checks

7. 
Selection 

Panel 
interview

8. Pre-
Employment 
Screening &amp; 

Medical 
Assessment

9. Selection 
Outcome

5. Telephone
Screening



  PageUp is SA Health Recruitment system

  Establish a username and password to access 

  All correspondence to you will be sent via your 
PageUp account, ensure your email address is 
correct and you check your emails regularly

  Complete a range of mandatory questions/ 
declarations

  Information will remain confidential but must be 
completed to enable your application to be 
considered further

  All instructions on applying found in the Job Pack

Step 1a   Online Application

Online 
Application 

(a)



  Follow specific instructions

  2 page cover letter which addresses the criteria

  Most recent resume

  Check with your nominated referees.  They must be 
current and supervisory

  National Police Certificate (NPC)

  Working with Children Check (formerly DHS/DCSI)

  Evidence of HLTAID003 Provide First Aid (if available, 
not a requirement when applying)

Step 1b   Online Application

Online 
Application 

(b)



  An initial review of your 
application undertaken

  We will consider your 
CV/Resume and Cover letter

  This information will determine if 
you progress to the next stage of 
the process

  You will be advised via email if 
shortlisted unsuccessful

Step 2   Eligibility Checks &amp; Initial 
Shortlisting

Eligibility 
Checks/ Initial 

Shortlisting



  You will be emailed a link to an online 
assessment with relevant instructions

  The test uses a range of practical skills and 
abilities necessary for success on the job

  This is confidential and you should not discuss 
the contents of the assessment with others

  This information is used as part of the selection 
process

  Essential that you complete these 
assessments independently and alone

Step 3   Online Technical 
Assessment

Online 
Technical 

Assessment



  Invitation to online psychometric 
assessment will be sent via email

  Designed to assess psychological factors 
relevant to the role

  Assessment of personality and individual 
differences

  This information is used as part of the 
selection process

  Personality based questionnaire

Step 4   Psychometric Assessment

Psychometric 
Assessment



  You will receive an email advising you of telephone 
screening commencing

  Telephone screening questions are related directly to 
the essential criteria of the role 

  Important to review the Role Description 

  Your progress will be based on your responses

  Only one call will be made   you are responsible for 
calling back within 24 hours if you miss the call

  Messages will be left requesting a call back within 24 
hours

  Check your telephone details are correct on your 
application   this number will be used

Step 5   Telephone Screening

Telephone 
Screening



  Requirement of 3 referees

  Must be professional references

  Essential that you contact your referees 
and seek their agreement  

  May be contacted at any time during the 
selection process

  Ensure email details are correct, this may 
impact on your progression

Step 6   Referee Checks

Referee 
Checks



  Offers to attend an interview will be emailed 
to you with instructions and a time to select

  Respond quickly to select an interview time 
that suits you

  Interviewing from different locations, please 
check before booking in and/or attending

  Panel of five - people with expertise and 
diversity relevant to the role

  Looking for evidence of how you meet the 
essential minimum requirements and how 
you demonstrate the desirable 
characteristics

  You are allowed to bring notes into your 
interview

Step 7   Panel interview

Selection 
Panel 

interview



  Not only about your skills and experience, but 
your suitability/ethical obligations as a Public 
Sector employee 

  Valid Child-Related Employment Screening 
DHS or new Working with Children Check 
(WWCC)

  National Police Certificate (NPC) - must be 
valid within 1 year of commencement date

  HLTAID003 Provide First Aid is an essential 
requirement at this point

Step 8a   Pre-Employment 
Screening &amp; Medical Assessment

Pre -
Employment 
Screening &amp; 

Medical 
Assessment



  Review Job Capacity Statement for an 
indication of possible demands of working in 
this role 

  Medical and Functional Assessment is 
completed at Corporate Health Group (CHG) 
in Mile End, Adelaide

  Invitation is via email

  Will be at your own cost

  Must meet medical requirements (including 
immunisation requirements) to progress

Step 8b   Pre-Employment 
Screening &amp; Medical Assessment

Pre -
Employment 
Screening &amp; 

Medical 
Assessment



Common Misconceptions / Myth 
Busting

  The Emergency Management (Healthcare Setting Workers Vaccination) 
(COVID-19) Directions 2021 requires that a person must not engage in 
work or perform duties in a healthcare setting from 1 November 2021 
unless they have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 
vaccine and have received or have evidence of a booking to receive a 
second dose of COVID-19 vaccine within one month of the first dose.

  Please note the Emergency Management defines a health care setting as a 
public hospital, private hospital or ambulance service, including patient 
transport service in South Australia. The direction applies to clinicians, 
ambulance workers, allied health, cleaners, administrative and executive 
staff.

  Progressing your application will be subject to you providing your COVID-
19 vaccination status as part of your application. 

Step 8c   Pre-Employment 
Screening &amp; Medical Assessment 
- Immunisation




  Panel Report is written recommending all 
suitable candidates &amp; forwarded to the 
delegate for approval

  Recruitment Team will make initial contact with 
you to confirm your recommendation and 
placement onto the pool

  Once you re notified you re on the pool you 
may be contacted at any time to be offered a 
position

  Offers of either casual, temporary, part time or 
fulltime all require you to undertake the 8 
week fulltime induction training

Selection process completion

Selection
Outcome



HLT31015 - Certificate III Ambulance 
Communications (Call Taking)

  On commencement candidates are required to complete a full 
time 8 week intensive training (Monday to Friday)

  This includes a 2 week mentoring program  which will includes 8hr 
shifts between 7am and 10pm

Structure: total of 446 hours
  During paid work time

  Learning activities including reading relevant study guides and 
associated SAAS and SA Health policies and procedures and 
completing written assessments are provided

  Face-to-face training and assessment 

  On the job training and completion of assessments



HLT31015 - Certificate III Ambulance 
Communications (Call Taking)

Assessment 
Period Activity 

Weeks 1   8 Classroom Work / Training (full-time) Includingmentoring taking live calls

Weeks 9   22 On shift with workbooks &amp; journals to complete with support from Supervisor
Week 22 Issued with SAAS Authority to Practice 

Weeks 22-25 Complete required assessments

Outcome:  HLT31015 - Certificate III Ambulance 
Communications (Call Taking) - a nationally accredited 
course



A day in the life of an EMDSO 

  Taking multiple calls with little time to prepare for what the call is 
other than how you are going to answer the phone

  12 hours of different emotions

  Arriving to work in the dark and leaving work in the dark (day or night)

  Missing social events and working public holidays, but you can go 
shopping when everyone else is working

  Be prepared for anything.  There was no warning for the state wide 
blackout, fires, shark bites, car accidents, babies being born

  Forging a strong bond with your team, you will spend just as much 
time with them as your friends and family



Common Misconceptions / Myth 
Busting
  Everyone is screaming and hysterical? Many calls are not; often people 

can be completely calm when facing extremely difficult situations.  Don t be 
emotionally fooled by the callers presentation.

  Everyone knows where they are?  SA is a big state.  Do you know the 
names of every street you drove on to get here today?

  Every event is traumatic and stressful? Many calls are not for 000 
however can still be difficult.  Customer service skills are essential to deal 
with any caller who is having a bad day and taking it out on you.

  Training will provide all the answers? Training will give you the skills to 
take a call and process the event and will continue to support you however 
there are always events that are new and different.  In this job be prepared 
for anything and you will continue learning once you leave the classroom.

  Holidays? These are built into your roster as to when you have days off or 
blocks of leave.  Once you join a team you work and take leave together.





Tips from Us:
? Read the FAQ s first, check you are eligible and ready

? Ask yourself these questions:

? Can I use a complex computer system with multiple screens for the duration of a 12 hour shift, with scheduled 
breaks?

? Can I type quickly and accurately whilst actively listening to information from the caller?

? Can I work in a highly supervised, structured and scripted environment?

? Could I take emergency calls one after the other, understanding I will not be able to find out the outcome of the 
patient?

? How would having to deal with serious trauma during every shift impact my emotional wellbeing?

? Can I multitask and remain calm in a high pressure environment?

? Can I work within a rotating roster of 12 hour shifts, day or night, which can involve weekends and public holidays, 
understanding I may have to miss family/social events?

? Have I discussed these conditions with friends, family or someone who does or has worked shift work?

? Please read the FAQ s first before contacting us - we start reviewing applications immediately 
so it may take some time to get back to you with answers - often we will just refer you back to 
the FAQ s



Thank you

Please direct your enquiries in the first instance to the SAAS 
Recruitment Inbox at: 
Health.SAASRecruitment@sa.gov.au or apply at 
sahealthcareers.com.au




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