Every year, CareFlight takes on a host of new clinicians training to become specialists in the fields of anaesthesia, emergency medicine and intensive care. These registrars become the newest members of a club of some of Australia’s best and brightest critical care medical professionals.

The Mounties Care CareFlight Rapid Response Helicopter team takes on four of these retrieval registrars every year, two at a time for six months each. After weeks of gruelling training and technical skills tests, CareFlight will run Scenario Day – a tough all-day test of endurance, knowledge and confidence. This is the final test to ensure that the registrars are ready to be independent in their roles as retrieval specialists, and can handle anything that the job might throw at them.

The team on the Rapid Response Helicopter is tight-knit; everyone must know their roles like the back of their hand. One of the results is the service is able to take off on average within 4 minutes of tasking.

There’s always four scenarios, with at least one adult ‘patient’ and one paediatric ‘patient’. Working alongside Fire + Rescue NSW crews, the day could include anything from training to respond to a fire emergency or to patients trapped in cars. Everything is planned out to be as realistic as possible, with CareFlight’s top of the line educational and simulation dummies and tools able to perform everything from a pulse, heartbeat and airflow to simulating traumatic injuries or underlying patient comorbidities.

As the doctors always say, “it’s always better to train for any possibility, no matter how rare, because you don’t want the first time you encounter a situation to be when you’re out in the field.” The experience culminates with helicopter safety training.

There’s also training for if things go wrong. Every member of the Rapid Response team is trained in emergency situations, including a simulated helicopter crash over water done under strict supervision in a deep pool. This can be one of the most daunting experiences for the registrars, but all of them passed with flying colours.

When you look up now and see the Mounties Care CareFlight Rapid Response Helicopter in the sky above Greater Sydney and further afield in NSW, you can think back on all the years of intense training and education it took for them to get there and give them a wave.

Find out more about clinical careers at CareFlight and attend an upcoming careers night here: https://careflight.org/about/careers/clinical/