This week at Davis: 20 March 2020

Station carpenter Grant shares his awesome experience of LSA training at the Royal Hobart Hospital

Lay surgical training: a world away from carpentry

As a wintering expeditioner, I was preparing for a once in a lifetime adventure to the frozen continent as a carpenter when I received a call, months before departure, asking if I would be interested to also become a lay surgical assistant. This involved two weeks of training at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The training process covered basic anatomy, anaesthetics, handling and identifying surgical instruments, preparing surgical trays for procedures, scrubbing and maintaining a sterile field, draping a patient and patient care.

Not really knowing what to expect, but bursting with enthusiasm, we met our trainers who would guide us through this fantastic opportunity. Our first day was classroom lessons, which covered many areas to help give us a better understanding of what our role may involve and a good lesson in anatomy. From the second day we were straight into theatre, observing procedures like hand surgeries, spinal operations, melanoma removals, even tonsillectomies and ear grommets. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more varied, I spent a day with a dental surgeon on a mouth that needed multiple surgical extractions and other work.

At the end of the training, we completed a training scenario to see how we would go and worked for the first time with our station doctor who we would be travelling south with. This scenario went flawlessly. Putting all of our newly learned skills into a mock situation gave me confidence in the knowledge that should I be called upon to assist, I would be ready.

It seems like a lifetime ago now, but I look back on those two weeks as being one of the best things I have ever done, and I am so grateful to have had that opportunity. I have so much respect for the incredible people who do this work, and hope that my new skills won’t be required but I am ready and willing if the need arises!

- Grant Murray, Davis station Carpenter 

Carpenter makes a saw cut on his scale workshop model Aurora Australis ship
Grant demonstrating the correct amputation technique - making a saw cut on…
(Photo: Patrick James)
Lay surgical assistant in his surgical scrubs, gives two thumbs up as he counts the sterile medical equipment
Counting each piece of sterile equipment - no suture left unturned!
(Photo: Rhys Harding)
Doctor and assistant dressed in blue scrubs, work under the surgical theatre lights during a training scenario
"Scalpel!", "Scalpel", LSA Grant passing Dr Rhys his instruments during surgery training.
(Photo: Ben Harrison)
Expeditioner takes a self portrait dressed in his blue scrubs
It's exciting, daunting, and tiring but someone's gotta do it!
(Photo: Grant Murray)
Lay surgical assistant selects the right instrument from a tray
If only the Chippie's workshop was this clean!
(Photo: Ben Harrison)