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QSuper is proud to support RFDS flight nurses through essential training, allowing them to manage a wide range of medical scenarios and emergency situations. Flight nurse Jacinta Jones provides a story from the inside.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service plane was on the way back from Mornington Island with a heart attack patient when they received another emergency call. A woman had gone into premature labour and needed medical attention urgently.
With a female patient and her husband already on the plane, there wasn’t room to create a birth suite on onboard.
“So, when we landed, we had to make a makeshift suite on the tarmac,” says Flight Nurse Jacinta Jones, whose qualifications include midwifery and clinical medicine.
Grabbing a blanket and a medical kit, that included pain relief, the RFDS team delivered the baby.
“I did have a doctor with me that day but often our doctors are emergency doctors who don’t have a lot of obstetric experience,” says Ms Jones. “That’s why all flight nurses need to be midwives – we need to be ready for anything. We never know where we’re going to go, or what we’re going to need to do.”
In fact, the RFDS Flight Nurses are some of the most highly qualified in the world, dealing with a diversity of the patients and conditions, from those who need medical transportation to others with life-threatening medical emergencies. Add in the vast, remote locations to which they travel, the unpredictability of the weather, and the challenges in accessing rural areas, and they perform a service for which all Queenslanders are undoubtedly grateful.
The RDFS currently employs more than 65 Flight Nurses throughout the state. As part of a new partnership, QSuper is sponsoring select RFDS Flight Nurses to attend the internationally recognised STAR program, which includes all the essential aspects of aeromedical retrieval.
This will support RFDS Flight Nurses to undertake ongoing training to provide exceptional patient care, as well as save lives.
Ms Jones has spent 13 years with the service, two in Mt Isa, responding to calls for help at houses, stations and even mine sites and the side of roads; and 11 in Brisbane, where most call-outs are for inter-hospital transfers.
She recalls emergency visits to a cattle station where a young cowboy had been pinned in a yard and another where the RDFS crew struggled to find a man who had fallen from a quad bike in the long grass.
“Patients tell us there’s no better feeling than seeing the RFDS plane on the horizon and knowing help is on its way. Similarly, people who need to get from one hospital to the other are very appreciative of our service.”
The RFDS has 1200 medical chests containing medicines such as antibiotics and pain relief, in remote communities across Queensland, and are able to assist locals on the ground with instructions for care before they arrive.
“It’s almost like having a doctor on call and mini chemist in these remote places,” says Ms Jones. “And they're able to deal with as much as possible before we get there.”
QSuper is Queensland’s largest super fund, with $80 billion in funds under management, while the RFDS has supported Queenslanders for more than 90 years and operates 21 aircraft from nine operational bases.
Our mutual goal is improving the wellbeing of all Queenslanders and, together, we’re in it for the long haul.
More information qsuper.qld.gov.au and flyingdoctor.org.au/qld
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