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Personal profile

Personal profile

Sonja has a diverse background in emergency healthcare after working in ambulance services both nationally and internationally including various roles as a critical care paramedic and within senior management. Sonja’s main area of interests are in policy development and evidence based guidelines for clinicians in the health field.

Sonja has proven skills in project management, research and leadership. Over the past ten years she has held several leadership roles within academia.  Her current role is the Associate Head of School for Paramedicine.

Research Interests

Sonja completed a PhD which investigated guideline use by paramedics. Sonja has also led several large-scale research projects over recent years. These notably included:

  • Leading a research team to research and establish additional placements for health science students through a NSW Interdisciplinary Clinical Training Networks and winning a grant for $100,000
  • Publications on paramedic practice in peer-reviewed journals see ResearchGate for specifics.
  • Investigations into clinical placements and the use of new technologies (Comptracker) with fellow colleague Adam Diamond (CSU).
  • An Australian-wide research project with colleague Mark Colbeck (ACU) into the establishment of the Australasian Paramedic Practice Guidelines.
  • Creating and establishing the Australasian Paramedic Pharmacology Project which aims to bring academics and paramedic educators together to create a united pharmacology resource for paramedics.

Sonja is a reviewer for several journals, including the Irish Journal of Paramedicine, the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, the Korean Journal of Emergency Medical Services, and the Australian Journal of Rural Health. She is also a member of the SNPHS Research Committee, Regional Work and Organisational Resilience, the Paramedicine Council of Deans, the Australian College of Paramedicine Paramedics Australasia. She jointly hosts TRIP Podcasts on Paramedicine.com with colleague Marc Colbeck.

Sonja supervises students at all levels of study. Her current students' topics include reviewing guidelines and evidence for the following topics: Cardiogenic shock, cardiogenic pulmonary oedema, acute coronary syndrome, thrombolytics in paramedicine, palliative care guidelines and first nation peoples' health and wellness. She is also interested in gender and feminist studies and has students researching: Gender diversity in students, workplace sexual harassment, and women in leadership positions in paramedicine.

Teaching

Sonja has a keen interest in curriculum development and course structure management. At CSU, she redesigned the undergraduate paramedic course, added an online version, and created the Masters of Paramedicine articulated degree. Both of these courses are extremely innovative and offer a new dimension to the ability of paramedics to complete their education. It's also these changes in education that then go on to drive industry change. With the registration of paramedics now compulsory in Australia, these programs will become intrinsically essential to advancing the profession.

Sonja's teaching passion is cardiology, and her teaching style is fun, personable and interactive; she is keen to use new technologies to assist students learning. Sonja has over 100K subscribers to her YouTube channel that hosts simulations of learning and videos that Sonja has made to demonstrate paramedic skills. Many of these subscribers work in environments with limited access to paramedic education, and Sonja is a firm believer in open access and global mentorship.

Sonja also mentors international students in cardiology and has several currently in the UK working through her online programs within social media.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Education/Academic qualification

Education, Graduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher , Charles Sturt University

Award Date: 22 Oct 2021

Paramedicine, PhD, Paramedic’s Clinical Reasoning and Decision Making in using Clinical Protocols and Guidelines, Flinders University

Award Date: 02 Apr 2020

Clinical Education, Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education, Flinders University

Award Date: 17 Nov 2016

Paramedicine, Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic), Charles Sturt University

Award Date: 10 Oct 2007

External positions

Managing Editor, International Journal of Paramedicine

2022 → …

Member Editorial Board, Journal of Intensive Care Research

2022 → …

University Representative, Australian Council or Paramedic Deans

2021 → …

Chair of the Australasian Clinical Guidelines Committee, Australasian College of Paramedicine

2020 → …

Subject keywords

  • Paramedicine
  • Policy
  • Guideline Development
  • Gender studies
  • cardiology

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Network

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  • 4CC 2020 - Krum Educational Grant Recipients

    Maria, Sonja (Recipient), 11 Feb 2020

    Prize: GrantSuccessful

  • Emergency Services Medal

    Maria, Sonja (Recipient), 2012

    Prize: AwardExternal award

  • Emergency Services Medal

    Maria, Sonja (Recipient), 2003

    Prize: AwardExternal award

  • Faculty of Science in Leadership Award

    Maria, Sonja (Recipient), Oct 2019

    Prize: AwardInternal award

  • Faculty of Science in Leadership Award

    Maria, Sonja (Recipient), 2017

    Prize: AwardInternal award