New paramedic swaps the desert for the beach

Ask Janine Nutt what the best job in the world is and she’ll tell you it’s hers.

The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter’s newest paramedic couldn’t think of anything she’d rather do, and it was a chance encounter that led her to work in the search and rescue field.

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Janine says she didn’t know what to do after high school, but a visit to the University of Johannesburg’s open day changed that. “A paramedic sold it to me,” she recalls. “He told me that in his line of work you get to do all the cool rescues on water, in helicopters, from motor vehicles. I thought it looked like fun so gave it a go.”

Fast forward from 2014 and after qualifying with a degree in Emergency Medical Care, Janine has worked as a road medic in South Africa and as a flight medic in Abu Dhabi, UAE. “Honestly, I can’t think of anything else I would want to do,” she says. “It’s an exciting and a rewarding career and it’s taken me around the world. I’ve lived and worked in three different continents in five different years. I’m definitely grateful for that.”

Janine’s passion for her career, combined with a love of travel, has seen her relocate to New Plymouth with her husband and take up the position as one of two paramedics for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter.

“I had never been to New Zealand but my husband had and said it was beautiful. New Plymouth is worlds apart from Abu Dhabi but the only thing I’m struggling a bit with is the temperatures. I haven’t worn shorts here yet!”

While the temperatures may be cooler, Janine says the warmth of the Taranaki community has made her feel extremely welcome. “Everyone is so nice, extremely helpful and incredibly friendly,” says Janine. “I didn’t expect the transition to be so easy, but it has been and that’s because of the people here in New Plymouth.”

Janine says she’s also thankful for the support of the Rescue Helicopter crew. “They’re great company. Not only are they passionate about what they do, they’re also extremely good at it,” she says. “I’m really excited to be part of the community where the service we provide is valued.”