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Paramedic to breathe new life into construction industry

December 10, 2020

Tamara Burow has graduated from Bond University with a Bachelor of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.

A paramedic who retrained as a quantity surveyor hopes to combine her careers to build better hospitals and ambulance stations.

Tamara Burow graduated from Bond University with a Bachelor of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying this month following a seven-year stint in paramedicine and nursing.

The job swap made for interesting family conversations: Ms Burow’s father is a quantity surveyor while her mother is a nurse.

“When I told my father he thought I was joking,” she said.

“It was mum who I haggled with the most because I was doing her career and I was changing into dad's career.

“But she knows I love a challenge and that I wanted a change.”

Ms Burow said she decided to head in a new direction because the stress and long hours of working on the frontlines of healthcare were taking a toll on her and those around her.

“When you get a cardiac arrest at 7pm at night and you've been working since 7am you can't just leave,” she said.

“Transporting the patient and the paperwork means you could still be there at nine or 10 at night.

“So that was part of my decision to see what else is out there.”

Ms Burow said her ideal job would be combining her newfound qualification in construction with her background in healthcare.

“Paramedic nursing is probably where my first passion will always lie and my plan is to stay in the industry for the rest of my life, working casually,” she said.

“I’d love to get involved in government infrastructure jobs and look at ambulance stations and hospitals and where they should be built and what's needed.

“We need to make construction about facilitating a community.”

Ms Burow graduated into a role with CONDEV Construction and hopes to become a project manager within five years.

Currently she works as a go-between with sub-contractors, ensuring the best prices for clients and upholding quality control.

She said she thrives in the male-dominated industry.

“I'm a strong personality,” she said.

“I have a sister who fights for female rights and is a domestic violence policy writer in NSW.

“There is such a great opportunity for women to come through and show they can do exactly what a male can do, and do it equally well.”

As someone who worked three jobs while studying fulltime at Bond - as a cadet quantity surveyor, a paramedic, and a nurse - Ms Burow has time management tips for students.

“Utilise the lecturers. The difference between other unis and Bond is you get to know your lecturer,” she said.

“Use that opportunity to talk to them one-on-one and understand straight up what they want from you in assessments.

“Now that I've been to Bond I love the way Bond does it. They make it so enjoyable that it's not hard to get a good grade.”

A postgraduate degree could be Ms Burow’s next project.

“I want to get a Master of Project Management, that's definitely in the forecast in the next two years,” she said.

“I also want to do an emergency medicine course.

“I wouldn't rule out studying medicine but it is such a long degree. If it wasn't so long I'd be there in a heartbeat.”