Navy trainees the right medicine

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics –Chef, Monique Grace struck up a friendship with Aged Care resident Arthur Berry while on her clinical placement. (photo: Unknown)
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics –Chef, Monique Grace struck up a friendship with Aged Care resident Arthur Berry while on her clinical placement.

Navy trainees undertaking an intensive 18-month medical course have completed their first clinical placement. 

The 20 men and women aged 18 to 28 worked for three weeks at aged care facilities on Sydney's North Shore. 

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Monique Grace described it as "difficult and confronting" at times but "overall a great learning and life experience".

"I joined the Navy for the challenge, adventure and opportunities that I would not get in other jobs, and I certainly got all those things here," Able Seaman Grace said. 

Her highlight was befriending resident and former sailor Arthur Berry.

"Talking to him and listening to his old school sailing stories was very interesting," Able Seaman Grace said. 

"All the residents had amazing life stories and being around them warmed my heart."

The Australian Defence Force Medic Course is conducted at the Royal Australian Navy's Medical School at HMAS Penguin in Sydney and at the Army School of Health in Wodonga.

Trainees are expected to conduct five clinical placements totalling 26 weeks, including in community and mental health, acute care, emergency and with the NSW Ambulance Service.

Officer in Charge of the Royal Australian Navy Medical School, Lieutenant Commander Bronwyn Low said clinical placements were an essential part of providing the Royal Australian Navy with a skilled workforce.

"Trainees cement skills on placement which they have learned in the classroom; nursing and interpersonal skills which will be invaluable as they further their careers," Lieutenant Commander Low said. 

"The staff at the aged care facilities were very impressed by the professionalism and knowledge of the trainees, many of whom had an enormous positive impact on the behaviour of the residents." 

Qualified Navy Medics are an integral part of Navy ships and shore establishments and are leading the way in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations like the one currently in Fiji.

On graduation the group will return to the Fleet as Endorsed Enrolled Nurses and Paramedics.