Nur Azwa proves women can handle an ambulance just as well as men

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It’s not often you see a woman truck driver or even one driving an ambulance.

However, for Nur Azwa Bahrin, 30, an assistant medical officer (AMO) at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Emergency Department (Kubang Kerian, Kelantan), it’s all in a day’s work.

She said she began her job as an AMO in 2015.

“Starting in 2018, every time I get an emergency call and am assigned to go to the scene, I am usually paired with another AMO responsible for checking and making sure the ambulance and emergency equipment bags are in good condition and ready for use. This is because most trauma or medical cases need to be treated immediately at the scene or in an ambulance,” she said.

She also said she had experienced various challenges, ups and downs and bittersweet insults when dealing with various categories of society.

Nur Azwa said when she first started working, the community was doubtful whether women would be able to carry out the tasks as well as men.

They had trouble accepting us at first. They didn’t think we had the skills and expertise.”

“However, when we started managing the patients, from giving treatment to lifting and pushing the patients into the ambulance, they were amazed to see the power of women who are also able to perform tasks that were previously monopolised by men,” said the Negri Sembilan-born, in an interview shared on USM’s Facebook page.

Nur Azwa is also grateful for the encouragement provided by her family and friends who believed in her.

Senior lecturer of the Department of Emergency Medicine, USM School of Medical Sciences, who is also the coordinator of pre-hospital services, Dr Mohd Shaharudin Shah Che Hamzah, said, USM Hospital was the pioneer in the country to introduce AMO (women and men) as drivers, and at the same time provide ambulatory services.

He said the hospital’s ambulatory care services had improved tremendously after the system was implemented. Now it only takes 11.3 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene of an accident after receiving a call, a vast improvement from the previous 28.7 minutes.

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