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Working on the frontline of the Royal Flying Doctor Service coronavirus response in Queensland requires a team effort and dedication to training, says RFDS Rockhampton flight nurse Nick Coleman-Hicks.
In the battle against COVID, Australian nurses and healthcare professionals have been working tirelessly to combat the virus across the entire patient-care spectrum – but what has the COVID journey looked like from the sky?
Since January, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) has ensured its already highly skilled frontline staff have been given specialised training on how to respond to the evolving situation.
By investing in essential training for flight nurses, QSuper is helping to ensure the RFDS continues to provide vital emergency and primary healthcare services for Queenslanders, when they need it most.
Based in Rockhampton, Mr Coleman-Hicks is one of the dedicated RFDS flight nurses who has been responding to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while ensuring continuity of the vital healthcare service the RFDS provides.
“It was scary, there’s no other way of putting it really,” Mr Coleman-Hicks said.
Ongoing professional development and training at the RFDS is why their flight nurses are recognised as being among the most elite aeromedical specialists in the world.
Regular COVID-19 training and working together as a team has played a significant role in the Flying Doctor’s response to the virus.
Patient care is the heart of the RFDS, which is why the COVID-19 training includes best practice for transferring people with coronavirus symptoms to protect all patients. This training includes detailed processes for decontamination of the aircraft after every transfer, the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), intubation of COVID positive patients and generally how to manage those feeling distressed or anxious about their symptoms.
The PPE implemented includes full body coveralls, face shields with goggles, double gloving and protective booties or overshoes. On average, the RFDS (Queensland Section) has been transporting 20 to 30 patients each day in the sky wearing the specialised COVID PPE.
Despite the challenging circumstances and the broad range of remote service locations across the state, the organisation has continued to deliver vital 24-hour emergency aeromedical and essential primary healthcare to community members in need.
“People are still having heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents and the occasional DIY accident at home.” Mr Coleman-Hicks said. “For us, it's been about making sure that we continue to provide the great health service that we always have in regional and rural Australia.”
QSuper is also working hard to protect the wellbeing of our members during COVID-19. It’s important to remember that your super is a big deal – not a one-year deal and we are here to support you throughout.
Check our coronavirus hub.
QSuper has partnered with Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) to support essential basic and intensive training for the organisation’s Flight Nurses.
QSuper uncovers the ‘Stories from the inside’ of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section). Sharing the inspiring work of Flight Nurses, to keep Queenslanders safe.
QSuper supports RFDS flight nurses through specialised training for situations that may occur on the ground or in the air.
Together we’re with you for the long haul