14 October 2022
How does an Aspen Medical Project Manager, working online, help save lives? Just talk to Steph Thompson, part of whose brief is protecting law enforcement officers from the dangers of accidental exposure to deadly opioids.

‘We train them in Naloxone administration which temporarily reverses the effects of opioids, ‘she says, ‘in case someone is exposed when opening a suspicious package.’

This is because drug dealers now mix the synthetic opioid carfenatil with heroin. 10,000 times stronger than morphine, this white powder resembles cocaine or heroin and, if accidentally touched, can cause dizziness, respiratory distress, and even death. ‘That’s where Naloxone nasal spray can save a life, giving time for the affected person to seek medical treatment.  

‘Without being cheesy, I’m one of those people that loves their job,’ says Steph, ‘knowing that everything I do is helping people, from frontline workers to scientific researchers. And it’s fascinating to learn what happens behind the scenes.’

Presently managing three contracts for Aspen Medical – healthcare onboard a scientific ship, a global cruise line, and Naloxone training for relevant law enforcement authorities – Steph says always had an interest in health and, in a past life, worked as a dietician, for nutritional companies and in corporate health management.

These days she deals with Aspen Medical’s procurement and clinical teams on a daily basis along with workforce coordinators.

 Steph is used to achieving what initially seems unattainable.

‘Recently we had to find two nurses for our leisure cruise line customer within 24 hours. Normally the process of finding available staff, doing eligibility checks, obtaining visas for travel overseas, and getting them interviewed, would take a month.

We had a day, and we did it.

Such challenges are rewarding to her, as she knows she’s made a difference. ‘I’m working in an ever-changing environment. The clients’ work shifts and schedules can suddenly change and it’s a matter of adjusting and responding. The requirements of the client are non-negotiable.’

Working from home suits Steph. ‘I find I get more done and I like the peace, to be honest. In an office, with people on the phone and running around, I’m too easily distracted.

‘As an only child, I’m happy in my own company.’ That said, she adds, ‘Aspen Medical is really good at doing social events. We’ll have a Cake in the Kitchen in the Brisbane office to celebrate a birthday and we get together for morning teas or training sessions.’

Steph catches up regularly with other work colleagues on TEAMS meetings and other online groups. ‘We can pick each other’s brains as well as socialise.’ There’s even an internal Aspen Medical Yammer site dedicated to staff members and their pets. ‘I post photos of my “fur baby”, Meisie, a mini foxie. She’s my lazy work companion, spending the day sleeping after our morning run.’

That’s another bonus of working from home – the flexibility. ‘In an office, I’d eat lunch at my desk and hardly get up. Now I run in the mornings and, in my lunch break, I’ll empty the dishwasher or put a load of washing on as well as eating.’ And Aspen Medical provided Steph with ergonomic advice and all her work equipment – monitor, laptop and keyboard – now set up in her spare bedroom.

The longer I work for Aspen Medical and the more I learn about what we do, by reading the daily updates, the more amazed I am by the company’s diverse work in healthcare,’ says Steph. ‘From air ambulance services to providing health practitioners on oil and gas sites, all the way through to managing hospitals in Fiji and building clinics in the UAE, there’s so much diversity.’

She’s also impressed that Aspen Medical employs many Defence Force veterans, whose project management and problem-solving skills are a key advantage, whilst helping them re-integrate into civilian life. ‘They’re such disciplined and reliable colleagues. And this is an issue close to my heart, as my stepfather was a US Marine fighter pilot.’

Meanwhile Steph’s favourite work outfit is the high-vis clothing and steel-capped boots she wears when boarding a vessel, in Fremantle, Hobart or Brisbane, for a medical stocktake.  ‘The boots are far comfier than stilettos,’ she laughs.

‘I check the medication and supplies on the ship, which are there for as many scenarios as we can think of, from a cut finger to surgery. A research vessel can be at sea for 45 days and we’ll provide a nurse, and doctor with surgical experience.’

Not only is Steph in the business of looking after and saving lives but she’s also changing them. ‘We provided a Covid investigation and response team when cruising started up after three years of lockdown. Finally, people can get out and have some fun.

‘But I’m still waiting for the luxury cruise line company to invite me on one of their cruises,’ she jokes.

Interested in a job like this?

According to Steph, working as Project Manager, you will need to:

  • be passionate about the job; the industry, the clients and the organisation in this high-paced environment
  • have operational and customer experience
  • be adaptable, to both the client and the situation
  • have the goal in sight and work towards it
  • be calm under pressure
  • be enthusiastic

For more information about joining Aspen Medical’s support team, email our Recruitment team.

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