A doctor who calls Dubbo home has discovered what she is “truly capable of” after joining the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) .
Dr Shannon Townsend returned to Dubbo earlier this year to work as a retrieval registrar at its RFDS base.
Within a few months she was put to the test when called on to treat a combative young man who had suffered a brain injury in a motorbike accident.
The empowering experience is one of many reasons she is happy to recommend the RFDS as an employer.
Dr Townsend, an emergency trainee in her fifth year of postgraduate study, reports of “amazing” training opportunities since donning the RFDS uniform.
She called on them when treating the victim of the motorbike accident.
“During this job I successfully sedated, anaesthetised and intubated this patient, then inserted lines and transported him safely to Sydney,” Dr Townsend said.
“It was nerve-wracking but I was well supported throughout by phone with my senior medical officer. We also discussed my plans prior to the retrieval and troubleshot concerns.
“My boss had camera access to the hospital, which meant he could jump online and have a look if I had any concerns. We are fortunate to have a 24/7 RFDS helpline. At times this level of support exceeds what is available in hospitals.
“The retrieval made me realise what I am truly capable of. Every retrieval is different and poses new challenges and learning opportunities.
“After each retrieval I can sit down with my boss and discuss areas of improvement. I am always learning and becoming a better clinician.”
Dr Townsend’s long list of reasons to work for the RFDS includes “ongoing” education, study leave, support of work/life balance and housing.
“My term with RFDS is also accredited with the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, so it counts towards my training time,” she said.
“Being a retrieval registrar with the RFDS is a great job, the best I’ve had.
“I would recommend it to any emergency trainee with an interest in retrieval medicine.”