Heading south from Saudi

Jenny in the clothing store of the Antarctic Division.
Jenny is trading her Saudi Arabian abaya for a heavy down jacket. (Photo: Jessica Fitzpatrick)
Jenny Wressell in an Antarctic jacket.Jenny in her abaya and headscarf in Saudi Arabia.

The Australian Antarctic Division is now recruiting for hundreds of winter and summer jobs in Antarctica including trades, support and professional roles.

So what does it take to be a Station Leader in Antarctica? 

One thing incoming Mawson Station Leader Jenny Wressell is not afraid of, is dealing with unusual scenarios in remote and challenging locations.

The former nurse and hospital coordinator has just returned from an 18 month posting to Saudi Arabia, where she was part of the management team for a hospital providing healthcare to oil giant Aramco’s 350,000 employees.

Prior to that Jenny spent 10 years working in health management and as a remote area nurse across small indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Torres Strait.

She’s conducted clinics under trees and in outback dongas, attended births, deaths and car accidents, managed chronic illnesses, travelled to far-flung communities by foot, troop-carrier and helicopter, and smoothed relations between machete-wielding patients and their pilot.

Her experiences have set her in good stead to lead her 14-strong team of Mawson men.

‘Working in remote areas I’ve learnt to cope with what gets thrown at me and to effectively prioritise what needs to be done,’ Jenny said.

‘I’m good at identifying risks and hazards and mitigating them as much as possible.

‘I’ve also seen how difficult it is for some people to adjust to being in a different culture or away from their families and I’ve developed skills to help them, and myself, which I’ll be able to draw on if I need to in Antarctica.’

Read more of this article in the latest issue of the Australian Antarctic Magazine