Dubbo hosts training of RFDS emergency medicine registrars

INTENSIVE TRAINING: Royal Flying Doctor Service registrars treat a patient during a medical emergency simulation. Photo: Contributed
INTENSIVE TRAINING: Royal Flying Doctor Service registrars treat a patient during a medical emergency simulation. Photo: Contributed

Dubbo has been the scene of another “outback emergency” constructed by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) as a way of preparing new recruits for life-saving work in remote Australia.

The latest RFDS intake of  emergency medicine registrars was confronted with an overturned tractor, brown snake and severely-injured farmer.

The simulation and others were part of three weeks of intensive training for the registrars now working out of Dubbo and Broken Hill RFDS bases.

RFDS senior medical officer and lead trainer Dr Peter Brendt reports of a new intake of emergency medicine and critical care doctors every six months.

“Our training is about teaching the doctors to expect the unexpected,” he said.

“They are all advanced clinicians but they’ve previously worked in hospitals with big teams and medical testing equipment available.

“In the outback we are usually hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from the nearest hospital, without access to different specialists that would be found in a large hospital.

“Our doctors have to do all the tasks which are done by different doctors in hospital.”

The registrars are taught how to “manage the scene” and work with flight nurses and pilots in stressful situations.

“We practice treating patients using two state-of-the art training simulators that closely resemble real life patients,” Dr Brendt said.

“During three days of training in Dubbo, doctors had to respond to various cases including a pregnant woman who needed to deliver urgently, a man with severe blood loss, patients with airway blockages, someone suffering a brain injury and intoxicated patients and observers.”

The new recruits are getting one-on-one support from senior doctors when they are called to an emergency retrieval.

They will spend 12 months working out of the two bases.

Dr Brendt said a partnership with the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health allowed  the registrars to also work at Dubbo Hospital in “anaesthetics or the emergency department”.

“We want to attract registrars because they help us develop and improve our services,” he said.

“They bring new ways of learning and doing things. We can learn from each other.”