A Day in the life of an RFDS Patient Transport Officer

Date published

31 Mar 2018

On Wednesday 13th December I had the privilege of escorting a Tasmanian named Glenice from her home to a specialist appointment at Royal Melbourne Hospital and back again. The Tasmanian road crew picked up Glenice from her home in Devonport and took her to Devonport Airport where the RFDS plane from Essendon had come over to meet us. We had Peter as our pilot and Janine as our flight nurse for the trip back to Essendon.

The approach into Essendon it felt like the plane was on a swing as it swayed from side to side. Janine explained to us that it was to do with the heat coming off the ground, and the wind, and apparently happens all the time coming into Essendon that she doesn’t tend to notice it anymore. It definitely renewed my opinion about the skills of our RFDS pilots. We landed safely in Essendon and when the door was opened the first impression was that it was hot. Of course we were flying to Melbourne on a day when they were having an extreme heat wave, of 37 degrees. 

Very different to the 22 degrees we left behind in Tassie. We were met at the plane by our Victorian road crew, Glenn and Wez, who were going to be our chauffeurs for the day. Glenice was transferred onto their stretcher then we were off to the hospital. Glenn and Wez were laidback, which was a good thing as Glenice does enjoy making fun with people. She kept attempting to knock Glenn’s hat off with her walking stick. I do wonder what the people we passed thought when they saw that. After her appointment we were taken back to Essendon Airport and said good bye to our Victorian road crew as we were loaded back on the plane for the return trip to Devonport. Peter was again our pilot, but this time we had Andrew as our flight nurse. The landing in Devonport was much smoother than landing in Essendon due to not having the heat coming up off the ground bouncing the plane around. It was lovely to open that side door and get that breath of sea breeze and much cooler temperatures. We returned the patient to her home then returned to base. It was a long day for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to see many different sides to Glenice, as well as meet some of the Victorian staff (some of who I have regularly emailed or spoken to on the phone). That’s just a day in the life of an RFDS Patient Transport Officer.