What life is like as a Fly­ing Doc­tor nurse

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - GE­ORDI OF­FORD Ge­ordi.of­ford@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

IT’S a job nurses de­scribe as un­pre­dictable.

Royal Fly­ing Doc­tors Ser­vice nurse Louise Bur­ton said it’s one of the rea­sons she loves it.

“Ev­ery­day I got to work and don’t know what I’ll be do­ing, you just have no idea what will come through,” she said.

“It’s not un­com­mon for us to move five to seven pa­tients in a 12 hour shift.”

Louise has been a nurse with the RFDS for 20 years and has worked in ev­ery base around Queens­land.

“At the mo­ment I work from the Bris­bane base, but I started out at the Mount Isa one,” she said.

“I’d al­ready been nurs­ing for about 10 years be­fore that.

“I hon­estly couldn’t imag­ine what our health ser­vices would be like with­out the RFDS, we can move 32 pa­tients ev­ery 24 hours which is quite an in­cred­i­ble amount.

“With­out it, so many peo­ple would be left in quite the predica­ment, it’s an es­sen­tial ser­vice.”

She said nurses need to be quite skilled in dif­fer­ent ar­eas to gets a job with the RFDS.

“Nurses need to have emer­gency de­part­ment ex­pe­ri­ence, be qual­i­fied in mid­wifery and also three to five years of post-grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

“We can be thrown into any kind of sit­u­a­tion so it’s im­por­tant for them to have a wide range of skills to ap­ply to what­ever comes at us.”

Ev­ery year the RFDS open ap­pli­ca­tions for mid­wifery schol­ar­ships which of­fers a po­si­tion with the or­gan­i­sa­tion at the end of the pro­gram.

“Mid­wifery prob­a­bly makes up about seven per cent of our work load, but it’s still a very sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age we feel is im­por­tant,” she said.

“We try very hard not to de­liver ba­bies in the air, but we do move a sig­nif­i­cant amount of ob­stet­ric ladies.

“Back in the ter­tiary cen­tres we move a lot of the new­born ba­bies that have per­haps been brought down in utero at 32 weeks be­cause mum’s gone into pre­ma­ture labour.

“They might be moved to a cen­tre to be looked af­ter for some time to be mon­i­tored and if they have to de­liver the baby they’ll be kept in the cen­tre and we’ll taken them back when they’re ready to go.” Louise said the schol­ar­ships are ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to any­one study­ing mid­wifery.

“It’s gone from be­ing a hos­pi­tal-based course to a univer­sity course so nurses have had to leave or go some­where else to be able to do it and that can cost quite a bit,” she said.

“This schol­ar­ship is al­low­ing stu­dents to have the funds to help ease the fi­nan­cial bur­den.

Louise is en­cour­ag­ing any­one in­ter­ested to en­rol for the schol­ar­ship.

“You can do the schol­ar­ship in any state it’s not just lim­ited to Queens­land,” she said.

“We re­quire ap­pli­cants to have three to five years

NURS­ING SKILLS: Louise Bur­ton has been with the RFDS for 20 years and said they never know what their shift will bring, which is why their nurses need to be highly skilled. PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTEDex­pe­ri­ence in crit­i­cal care, be a regis­tered nurse with the Aus­tralian Health Prac­ti­tioner Reg­u­la­tion Agency and be en­rolled of ac­cepted into a mid­wifery course.“This year we ac­tu­ally have three schol­ar­ships in­stead of just one be­cause we’ve re­ceived sup­port.” To ap­ply for the 2019/2020 mid­wifery schol­ar­ships visit ca­reers.rfd­sqld.com.au.Ap­pli­ca­tions close on Fri­day, Novem­ber 30.

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