Brett Cobby is a NSW Ambulance Chaplain, based in the Hunter Region. “There are many aspects to this voluntary role,” Brett said. “The support that an Ambulance Chaplain provides could mean attending the scene of an incident to help Paramedics, victims, family members and bystanders. But we also support staff in diverse areas, such as at the Control Centres, technicians, mechanics and many others.” Brett explained that every employee of NSW Ambulance has a life outside of their work, which is also an area in which a Chaplain can really help. “I worked in Emergency Services for almost 30 years, doing rotating shift work. Like everyone else, I had kids, cars, and a mortgage. My wife also worked in the same area doing shift work, so we were always juggling our shifts to manage appointments, sporting commitments and school events. As an Ambulance Chaplain I am now able to draw upon those years of experience so that when I sit with a first responder I can really connect with them and their world.”
Being a Chaplain means you are able to come alongside someone and be a safe person for them. You are not a manager or a boss – you are an independent, impartial listener and someone they can really talk to.
Unlike other areas of Chaplaincy with set hours, a volunteer Ambulance Chaplain is able to work weekends and nights if you choose to. You can be called out to an incident at any time if you have made yourself available. Being a shift worker, Brett enjoys the flexibility, “Chaplaincy is about inconvenience and preparedness. You can’t choose where the next crisis will be, but when the need arises you have to be able to recognise it, to be ready for it and to respond appropriately. This means you must be properly trained, qualified and equipped. As Jesus travelled from place to place he was always being interrupted to help people. I believe Chaplaincy is more about the journey than the destination.”
Training, qualifications and preparation are essential and that is where Chaplaincy Australia can help. Ambulance Chaplain positions are advertised from time to time and successful applicants are then provided with further intensive training by NSW Ambulance.
“Paramedics are constantly voted as being one of the most trusted professions. It is an honour and privilege to be one of the most trusted people for the most trusted professions – an Ambulance Chaplain”, Brett said.