This week at the station

This week at Mawson: 21 June 2013

Medical training and dental work

Up until now, the Mawson Lay Surgical Assistants (LSAs) have had some piecemeal medical training every fortnight or so on various aspects of operating theatre protocols. This week, they put their training modules together for a mock-up surgical case.

One of the expeditioners happily volunteered to lend his body to science for the morning and act as the 'patient'.

The LSA team were first asked to set up the entire operating theatre as if for a real case in the absence of the doctor. This required them to have to set up all the anaesthetic equipment, all monitors, and all surgical instruments, as well as to scrub up in a sterile manner.

LSA training is a great privilege which is bestowed on a few select volunteers who are taken into the working operating theatres of Royal Hobart Hospital, where they are exposed to real live surgical cases. Under supervision, they are taught the skills of assisting at surgery and anaesthesia. This is a 'very big ask' to expect lay personnel to learn, in two weeks, many of the rudiments of a managing an operating theatre. This is a job which is so far removed from their everyday experiences. Indeed, our Mawson lads performed exceptionally well in this mock-up scenario, and credit is due to their hard work and their interest in, and understanding of, what they learned in those two weeks at the Royal Hobart Hospital. It is also a reflection of the dedication and hard work of the Royal Hobart theatre staff who trained them. Well done, all!

As soon as the 'operation' was over, a dental case was waiting outside theatre. The doctor attends specialist dental training before heading south so that expeditioners have access to treatment, fillings and more if needed during their winter at Mawson.

The surgery is full of interesting gizmos and test devices which rarely get used. A small study was conducted in the past month on the detection of carbon monoxide in combustion fumes to show expeditioners how testing is done and how these devices work.

Found in the station’s recreation room station was an old .303 calibre bullet from a bygone era when seals were occasionally shot and fed to the working dog teams.

A station news article would not be complete without a pretty 'sunset shot', especially now that our last autumn sun was viewed this week.

Medical training - a man lies in a hospital bed pretending to be a patient waiting for surgery
The 'patient' nervously awaits theatre
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Surgical and anaesthetic assistants prepare for theatre
Surgical and anaesthetic assistants prepare for theatre
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
A mock operation that looks like the real thing with medical staff surrounding a pretend patient
The 'operation' is underway
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Expeditioners in scrubs stand around a mock patient in an operating theatre
The LSAs have a post-op discussion
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
A carbon monoxide test kit shows the presence of gas as a purple colour change
A carbon monoxide test kit shows the presence of gas as a…
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
A dental procedure takes place
A dental procedure at Mawson
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
An old .303 cablibre bullet casing
An old .303 shell
(Photo: Lloyd Fletcher)
Sunset at Mawson featuring the large wind turbine, backlit by a multi-coloured sky
A rainbow-hued sunset in the final hours before its winter hibernation

A power house tour

The main power house, or MPH as it is known, is a favorite haunt of the diesos, as well as the sparkies and plumbers. It is located at the bottom of the station, right on the water's edge with a view extending out over Horseshoe Harbour to West Arm. The four Caterpillar 3306 diesels work in conjunction with the stations wind turbines to provide us with all the electricity we require. The MPH is a self-contained dieso’s paradise - all the spare parts and tools required to carry out repairs and maintenance are within arms reach, and with the temperature a fairly constant 20 degrees, it is one of the more comfortable places to work on station. Observations are recorded twice daily, at 8am and 8pm, by the diesos and sparkies, to monitor things like fluid levels, oil pressures, temperatures and engine load.

Mawson power house - a blue storage container building surrounded by snow
The main power house or MPH
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Powerhouse at night
MPH at night with warm air plume from exhaust
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Power house engines
The engine room
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Mawson power house engines from above
The plant from above
(Photo: Jeremy Little)
Power house control boards
The electrical control boards
(Photo: Jeremy Little)

Another week goes by in photos

Floor scrubbing
Slushy duties can involve a bit of floor scrubbing
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Floor cleaning
More floor cleaning
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
A man in a forklift organising storage
John our storeman organises racking in the store
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Starting work on climbing wall, an expeditioner in blue overalls lifts a metal brace in place
Cliff gets a start on installing the new climbing wall
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
A male expeditioner drives a JCB, a large tractor with chains on the tyres
Keldyn operates the JCB
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Electrical works in the emergency power house
Electrical works in the emergency power house
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Measuring sea ice, a man kneels behind two quad bikes
Measuring the sea ice
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Hydroponics room is full to the brim of green growth
Vegetables growing nicely in hydroponics
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Sunset behind some buildings at Mawson
Sun setting below the skyline
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Moonrise over an icy landscape
Lunchtime moonrise
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
Station skyline showing the station in the foreground and dark but a line of bright orange light on the horizon
Station skyline
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
View from Trost Peak featuring wind-carved ice
The view from Trost Peak
(Photo: Peter Cubit)
This page was last modified on 16 December 2010.