One of our fantastic Doctors just returned home to Sweden after a year in Australia working for CareFlight. He and his family had a wonderful time in Townsville and he developed a cutting edge emergency response skillset that he has now taken back home with him.
He has written about his experiences for us. In this part he offers an insight into working in Australia, his training, the working culture, and he looks back at what he and his family gained from their experience. In part one he looked back at the registration and immigration process.
All the photos in this post were taken by Christer during his time in Australia.
If you are interested in learning more, you can search our available jobs or download our Doctors Guides for more detailed information on living and working in the regions we recruit to.
My name is Christer Oldin. I have been working as an in-hospital Consultant Anaesthetist for almost eight years. Responsible mostly for the Orthopaedic Operation Ward, I’ve always had a special interest in the prehospital field but unfortunately, very little real experience due to the kind of prehospital organisation we have in my county where aeromedical retrieval is non-existent.
Top tips for Townsville
If you are going to Townsville find a place to stay in Belgian Gardens, North Ward. It is close to the base which means you can go home when you are on call and you will find good schools in the vicinity. If you are coming from the Northern Hemisphere brace yourself for the hot and humid summer months in Tropical Queensland! If you are more into surfing and want a “cooler” climate choose a base in Southern Queensland. Remember to do your research!
Training week was intense with medical scenarios, lectures and skill stations for three days. You are supposed to know most of it but new friends, new methods, and for me a “new” language and a high tempo made the evenings very short. CareFlight is very much up to date when it comes to prehospital trauma care and I learned lots of new stuff. The rest of the week was winch practice and HUET (Helicopter Under Water Escape), something new, challenging and fun. My newly completed Open Water Diver license was of great benefit for the HUET experience. You don’t need one but of course it will mean that you will be more comfortable using the breathing support devices under water.
The best job ever
Working at the Townsville Heli Base was the best job I will ever have. I have never been on roster for so many hours a month, but there is sometimes down time, something I was not used to while working in hospital. I have never spent so much time with my family. It was a great working holiday. If you ever feel bored just remember the tempo and the feeling of constantly being in the “wrong” spot when working on call at the hospital!
The team at Heli Base and RFDS base are just amazing, friendly, helpful and used to getting new colleagues every six month. Listen to the Paramedics you are working with and learn. They know the way to do things, to organise a scene and what to do first and last. However, you are responsible for the medical safety and treatment of your patient. All RFDS nurses are midwifes as well which is very comforting (at least for an anaesthesiologist). One tip before you leave your home hospital is to do a day at the maternity ward just to rehearse a normal delivery.
All about audits
Every Thursday you are expected to be there for a telephone conference where several bases phone in and clinical leaders choose from cases from the last week. You will be asked to go through your cases, explain what your thoughts were and also why you did not do things at the time. Everything is about learning and clinical governance. Embrace it!
My goal, which I achieved, was to feel comfortable and know my role at the scene of an accident. As a very nice side effect my children learned English, my wife got a year off in paradise drinking coffee at The Strand, I got to see pretty much all of Queensland and made new friends for life. We spent all the money on travelling and got to see Tasmania, Gold Coast, Sydney, New Zealand, the Withsundays and WhiteHaven Beach and Fiji.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Head Medical, QG Air Townsville Heli Base, RFDS, QAS and CareFlight together with the clinical leaders Dr Ben Butson and Dr Luke Burman and crew, Townsville, for an amazing year!
Thank you so much Christer for providing such insight into your adventure!
Read the case study about how on of our Doctors is settling in to life in Abu Dhabi.
If you would like further information on CareFlight opportunities in Australia, contact Sharon Dodds on +44 (0)131 240 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.