Dr Mal gives homage to our lay surgical volunteers

If my friends could see me now

Our Antarctic experience calls on us all to be versatile and adaptable and nowhere is this more evident than the Lay Surgical Team.

There are a lot of volunteer/community roles that a station group are meant to hold. From occupational health and safety, hydroponics, librarian, fire officers, and flag officer, just to name a few, and all are important for the “health” of the station. But surely the lay surgical assistants hold the most unique role.

Their adventure starts in the Royal Hobart Hospital in a two week predeparture window. Four expeditioners get divided into two broad roles of theatre nursing and anaesthetic assistants. Here starts their exponential learning curve on theatre processes and etiquette.

Most of it is "fly on the wall" learning, but scrubbing up and scrubbing in are great learning experiences. This an eye-opening and inspiring experience, and this is an out of world experience for your average person.

Here, under strict supervision they get an insight in what is required to be part of the eyes and hands of the operating team.

We maintain this learning process on station with regular learning modules and practical reinforcment of skills attained.

Stepping out of their comfort zone to help their fellow expeditioners is a great calling and is greatly appreciated.

Dr Malcolm Vermon, station doctor