What happens at HEMS Induction?

It’s been a few months since the latest cohort of HEMS registrars completed their induction; they’ve found their feet and been part of some incredible missions so far.

One of our latest additions, Dr Fran Arnold, wanted to share some of their thoughts, experiences and expectations as they venture into the sometimes daunting, challenging and extremely exciting world of prehospital and retrieval medicine.

What is induction all about?

Without a doubt, we’re hugely lucky to have just completed one of the most impressive, thorough and brilliant inductions of our careers. After some introductory activities to get to know each other, week 1 took us straight into our inter-hospital training week. From simulations, workflow training, a triage and tasking exercise, ultrasound storm, obstetric revision, meeting Wallace-the NSWAS therapy dog, organisational induction and the first of many of pack checks, we hit the ground running and induction was off to a strong start.

A weekend of recovery led into week 2 and straight into pre-hospital week, with guests from Canberra and the Royal Flying Doctor Service joining us. Pig lab procedure training, a major incident drill, more excellently delivered high fidelity simulation, more pack checks and the most fun OSCE most of us have ever done, all too soon, the full team graduated with our wings and week 3 was upon us.

Week 3 and 4 were flight school, and faced with the task of following a phenomenal medical induction, the team at Toll (the aviation providers to the NSW aeromedical service) rose to the challenge to deliver a really high quality training programme.

Human factors, aviation training, winch training – both simulated and in the (literal) field – and the basics of helicopter crewmanship. It was all so well delivered and inspiring, and under the watchful guidance of our Toll Mentors, we all survived winch insertions, stretcher winch extrications and the dreaded dunk in our HUET training. A few crazy folk even climbed out with smiles on their faces!

So it’s been a huge welcome and epic privilege to go through this level of training, but what did we take from it all?

For some of us, this world is new and daunting, for others, a return to a familiar environment, but the key messages that will stick with us are as follows:

  • Cross-training roles together; some of our critical care paramedics completed induction with us and it was great to get to know them.
  • The power of well-delivered safe-space simulation and practicing what good looks like.
  • The power of a wellbeing-enlightened organisation & culture
  • Don’t have a helicopter crash! But if we do….we now know what to do
  • Be an active part of the crew, not just a passenger. 
  • Always do what the aircrew tells you.
  • We all come from around the world with a huge range of lived experiences and different skills. But most importantly, we’re all in it together (and we all love the beach!)

Huge thanks to Karel Habig, Clare Richmond, Rob Scott, Daniel Schmidt, James Koens and the massive team of consultants, CCPs, aircrew, flight nurses, paramedic educators and paramedic student volunteers for getting us to this point.

A consultant colleague in my last job, Dr Grimsmo, whom I was lucky to work alongside for the RFDS, introduced me to the idea of ‘setting people up for success‘ and how powerful it can be. The induction we’ve been through is testament to this and we’re eager to get out there and do our bit to serve our population and deliver the best standards of care we can. Look up to the skies – we’re on our way! And if you’re joining us this coming August – you have a lot of fun ahead 🙂

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