Lifeguard of the Year

Luke Plant

“University is a gateway for so many opportunities; sporting, socially and educationally. I recommend making the most of your breadth subjects. Whether it's taking on something completely different that interests you or something a bit easier to allow more time for the harder subjects you have in the course – use them well!”

The winner of 2015’s Australian Lifeguard of the Year, Luke Plant – has worked out how to incorporate a passion that began on the beaches of Phillip Island near his home into a rewarding career pathway. Through a post-graduate degree in Medicine, Luke hopes to not only be a lifesaver at the beach but also in the hospital. Luke graduated from the Bachelor of Biomedicine degree in 2012 and immediately commenced his post-graduate course in the Doctor of Medicine. He has found his studies in medicine and experience in lifesaving complementing each other in both expected and unexpected ways.

“The theoretical teaching in life saving is a helpful introduction into physiology whilst the practical training and exposure to real-life first aid situations, such as my involvement in a resuscitation several years ago, has provided valuable experience with the sequencing of patient assessment and proficiency in basic life support techniques. Conversely, I have been able to draw upon my observations in the hospital to make me a better leader down at the beach. As Chief Lifeguard I was able to replicate the supervisory role that I have witnessed in major trauma cases in the emergency department,” said Luke.

Luke is stepping it up this year both on the beach and in the hospital; combining a six-month placement at the Austin Hospital looking at the development of heart failure in hospital inpatients with his new summer role as a rescue swimmer in the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters team and his job as Chief Lifeguard of the greater Bass Coast. Luke admits that he finds it difficult to give up summertime down by the coast at the start of each semester but says the anticipation of starting new courses and meeting like-minded people makes it worth it.