In a first for the organisation, CareFlight’s new registrars are all women.

CareFlight employs new registrars twice a year on a six-month rotation as part of its registrar training program with the Top End Medical Retrieval Service.

This year, CareFlight is proud to welcome an all-female team that have travelled from all over the world to take part in the program.

“In recent years, female doctors in different medical fields have started outnumbering their male colleagues for the first time in Australia. Fast forward to today and CareFlight has onboarded its first-ever all-women registrar team,” CareFlight Clinical Nurse Consultant in Education and Training, Jodie Martin, said.

“Overall, the ranks of female medical graduates are swelling and that’s fantastic,” Jodie explained.

“This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is ‘I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights’ – and I think we can certainly celebrate that here at CareFlight.”

The seven new registrars have previously worked in Emergency Departments, Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Units all over the world including in Australia, Ireland, the UK, Africa and Denmark.

During their six months with CareFlight, the team learns to care for the critically ill and injured in pre-hospital and inter-hospital aeromedical retrieval environments as well as in rural and remote locations.

“Here they quickly discover just how different this environment is from a hospital setting, but that’s what makes our training program and the services they provide so valuable,” Jodie explained.

Before they start their rotation, they spend two weeks doing intensive training.

“Their training includes how to intubate a trauma patient on the side of the road, how to manage an airway in-flight, decision making surrounding obstetric retrievals, performing pre-hospital ultrasounds and more,” Jodie said.

“The other aspect of the training is around aviation – helicopter winch training, helicopter underwater escape training, and how to work in and around jet and turbo-prop aircraft.”

At the completion of the six-month rotation, the doctors are accredited with up to six months training by the Critical Care Colleges of Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesia or Intensive Care.

Naomi Abdallah is a wife, a mother, and one of CareFlight’s newest registrars.

“It’s been a long road – nine years of study, three degrees and now eight years of on the job training, punctuated with a bit of time off for maternity leave,” Naomi explained.

Naomi’s passion for remote medicine and working with people who have minimal access to health care drew her to apply for the job at CareFlight, but she explains it’s not without its challenges.

“The work is incredibly rewarding and exciting but working in retrieval as a mother of a two-year-old boy is challenging. Retrieval involves erratic shifts and long hours, but I’m lucky to have a husband who understands that and supports me by picking up the pieces,” she said.

“Sometimes the ‘mum-guilt’ is real, but I think it’s important to challenge the gender stereotypes that still permeate our culture – our son sees his parents split the child caring role, watches his mum get winched out of a helicopter, and knows that mummy’s have day jobs too.”