Graphic: Flight Nurse celebrates 10 years with the Service
Working in what she describes as the best ‘office’ in the world, Flight Nurse Haidee Kerr says the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) provides an opportunity to combine her love of nursing with flying. Now, after 10 years with the Service, Haidee reflects on her time with the RFDS and what she enjoys most about her role.
Growing up in a small rural town in the South Burnett Region, Haidee says the Flying Doctor’s promise — The furthest corner. The finest care. — really resonated with her.
“Having a rural background, I love that the RFDS’s vision is to improve the health of people in regional, rural and remote Queensland."
“I still remember my first experience with the Flying Doctor — I was on a clinical placement when a retrieval team flew in to transfer a critically unwell patient.
“Still new to the nursing profession, I couldn’t comprehend how they were going to safely transport the patient who was attached to so many monitors, infusion pumps and a ventilator, in their aircraft.
“The doctor and nurse quickly, calmly and confidently prepared the patient for transfer before loading them onto the stretcher and into the aircraft,” Haidee recalls.
But it wasn’t just their professionalism that stood out to Haidee — it was their respect of, and care for, the patient that left a lasting impression.
“They showed great kindness to the patient’s family, taking the time to stop and explain what they were doing and answer any questions the family had, putting their minds at ease.”
It was in that moment Haidee decided she wanted to work for the Flying Doctor.
But becoming a flight nurse is no mean feat. As some on the most highly qualified nurses in the world, our RFDS aeromedical and primary health care nurses are required to be registered midwives, have experience in intensive care or emergency nursing, and qualifications in adult, paediatric and neonatal resuscitation.
After a year working at Caloundra and Nambour hospitals, Haidee moved up north to work in the Cairns Base Hospital’s Emergency Department.
From there, she transferred to the Mount Isa Hospital, working in emergency again, before completing her midwifery qualifications.
Planning to return closer to home, a serendipitous encounter at an Australia Day BBQ made Haidee change her mind.
“I met the RFDS Mount Isa Nurse Manager at a friend’s Australia Day BBQ. She spoke so highly of the RFDS and told me more about working for the Service. She also mentioned there was a position available in Mount Isa and encouraged me to apply — a position I was fortunate enough to get.”
Haidee enjoyed two and a half years working at Mount Isa before transferring to the RFDS Brisbane Base where she has been for the past seven and a half years.
“I’ve had so many great experiences at the RFDS in the past 10 years — from landing on remote airstrips lit up with kerosene-soaked toilet roles in the middle of the night, to assisting in the birth of twins at a remote hospital — there are many special highlights that have made my time at the Service so rewarding.
“I’m incredibly proud to work with, and learn from, such dedicated, professional and highly-skilled nurses, doctors and pilots. Being part of a team that provides the highest standard of care for our patients is something in which I am immensely proud.”