My journey to Rostrum is likely similar to that of many Members. Over the last couple of years, I had been looking for an opportunity to develop my rudimentary public speaking skills in an environment where I could observe accomplished speakers and receive supportive feedback on my own efforts.

What I have come to understand in my short time at Club 10 is that Rostrum does much more than develop public speaking skills, it develops the ability for a person to put forward a structured opinion by learning to develop a theme, outline points of relevance and conclude with a statement that pulls it all together, all in a defined timeframe....

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You have to be entertaining too, which as all members appreciate, is no easy task - but rewarding when you get it right.

The subject of my first talk was “About Me”, which was a topic that provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my professional life and the links between my different occupations.

My journey started with nursing, moved to being accepted into the paramedic program and ultimately studying law.

Early on in my life, without really having any insight, I was looking for a career where I was helping people. I found that career when I completed work experience as a 16 year old at the local ambulance station. Being too young to become an ambulance officer on completion of high school, I went to university and studied nursing. At the completion of my studies I focused on critical care areas that took me to intensive care units in both Australia and overseas and into the emergency department at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

After a few months at RBWH, I was accepted onto the paramedic program. It was these roles that gave me the opportunity to help people during some of the most difficult times in their lives, whether that was dealing with the death of a loved one, or trauma or serious drug and alcohol abuse. But we also had the opportunity to see people during special times in their lives too. One of my most memorable experiences was delivering a healthy baby in the back of an ambulance - an experience which was both beautiful and terrifying.

When I completed my paramedic training, I remember thinking back to when I was 12 and in primary school and we were asked to complete a poster on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had wanted to be a lawyer. So I used three months of annual leave I had saved up to go back to university and study law to see whether or not it was ‘for me’. What I can say is it was a lot of work and there were many times when I wondered whether or not it was worth it - but when I look back now, more than 11 years later, I can 100% say, yes, it was worth it.

For the last 10 years, I have worked for a Medical Defence Organisation looking after doctors for a myriad of reasons from basic complaints for being rude or late, through to suspension from practice, small compensation matters to multimillion dollar settlements.

When I look back at what I have done, and why I did it, I see that link between my chosen careers. It’s the purpose of these roles from nursing to paramedic to the law, that made the roles both satisfying and fulfilling. A job where you are able to help people manage a difficult time in their lives provides a great deal of satisfaction and I believe has been the underlying purpose in my careers up until this time in my life and will continue into the future.

Nick Gaffney
Member Queensland Rostrum Club 10

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