Well-known local paramedic Chris Lahene has been appointed NSW Ambulance District Operations Manager (DOM).
Mr Lahene, who has been an ambulance paramedic for 32 1/2 years, takes over the position from Wayne Dunlop, joining Faye Stockman in the regional role based at Bomaderry.
Mr Dunlop has been the district inspector for 15 years and is stepping away to pursue other ventures.
It's an exciting but also a sad time for Mr Lahene, who will be relinquishing his role as station officer at the Culburra Beach Ambulance Station after 19 years.
"I see this as a great challenge," he said.
"But it's also a sad time as I will be leaving the Culburra station, where I have worked since it was initially opened.
"Culburra has been fantastic for us, very welcoming for our family, and a great support.
"This is a great opportunity and it was a difficult decision to walk away.
"But I see the experience I've gained can probably be of more benefit at this stage of my career to support staff and future of the service.
"I'm happy to pass on lessons learnt."
He will focus less on frontline patient care and more on managerial and staff welfare issues.
"In the job we do staff welfare is really important - we have to ensure our paramedics are cared for properly," he said.
"One of the biggest issues for paramedics is the stress they are placed under.
"This job takes a toll on your mental health.
"The service as a whole has recognised that and we now have more strategies in place to deal with those issues."
He praised the Culburra District Community Health Service for its great support of the ambulance service in the village.
This is a great opportunity and it was a difficult decision to walk away from the Culburra Beach station. But I see the experience I've gained can probably be of more benefit at this stage of my career to support staff and future of the service.NSW Ambulance District Operations Manager Chris Lahene.
Lahene is one of only two original staff members, along with Louie Kostovski, from when the station opened, to still be working at the beachside station.
"I will be sad leaving the Culburra community. We live there and have built some great relationships over many years," he said.
"We will continue to live there I just won't be working day in day out in the area."
While he will still be attending major accidents and emergencies, he will now be in a more supervisory role.
The position will also see him liaise with other emergency services such as NSW Police, Fire and Rescue NSW, Marine Rescue and State Emergency Services.
"We [NSW Ambulance] also take the lead role every time the EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) opens at West Nowra for any emergency," he said.
"It is our responsibility to manage the centre until other services come in, or our team can run it for extended periods."
Mr Lahene admits bed block, or reported delays for ambulance staff at Shoalhaven District Hospital is another issue facing the service.
"It is an ongoing issue with the whole of health," he said.
"I'm sure we can manage the capability with the hospital to get the best outcomes.
"Shoalhaven Hospital does an amazing job under difficult circumstances, especially with the size of the population it caters for.
"We can only go so far, delays occur but I'm sure we can collaborate with the hospital to ensure we can keep ambulance coverage available for the public."