The idea of developing an organisation to articulate the views of paramedic students was first raised in 2005 by three Monash University students who were enrolled in the Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) degree.
With the guidance and support of their mentors they proposed the notion of a student-oriented organisation that would foster the professional development of students, seek to engage students in networking and social programs and undertake discussions involving course programs and career development with relevant stakeholders.
They presented these ideas at the 2005 Australian College of Ambulance Professionals (ACAP - and now Paramedics Australasia) Conference in Alice Springs. They spoke of the need to provide a means for students to express their concerns, share information, discuss ideas and support the interests of student paramedics within areas of government, industry and education.
Their proposals first caught the eye of the ACAP Victorian State Branch, which acted promptly to help establish the first student working committee comprising five undergraduate students from Monash University. Over a period of 12 months, the committee developed several business plans, including the creation of a student website and the development of student-focused professional programs for paramedic students in Victoria.
In 2007, the organisation was named the Student Paramedic Association and under the auspices of the ACAP Victorian State Branch, the student group was successful in recruiting 300 members from Monash and other Victorian Universities.
Following this success, the committee expanded its network nationally, helping to establish paramedic-based university clubs in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. By the end of 2008, the Student Paramedic Association had more than doubled its membership base, and was affiliated with 7 university clubs across the country.
These inaugural years faced and overcame many challenges- but one thing was constant - the obvious drive and dedication of the student cohort and their focus on professionalism. SPA as a result has grown rapidly and today continues to expand its membership and influence with other student networks and government bodies.
In 2009, the organisation was renamed Student Paramedics Australasia (SPA) – and it continues to thrive!