Graphic: Elizabeth Ferrier standing in front of an RFDS plane
Hard work, dedication and a firm belief in quality healthcare for all has driven the newest flight nurse for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) to get back in the air.
Elizabeth Ferrier recently completed her midwifery studies thanks to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Federation Scholarship. The scholarship funds studies for nurses who would like to work for the RFDS but do not have the necessary midwifery qualifications – a prerequisite for all RFDS Flight Nurses in Queensland.
Now, Ms Ferrier is taking to the skies over Queensland as she begins her role from the RFDS Townsville Base.
Ms Ferrier said she had previously worked as an aeromedical nurse in the Northern Territory which sparked her love of delivering care to regional and remote communities.
However, her desire to work for the RFDS only really materialised when she secured the RFDS Federation Scholarship.
“I kind of fell into aeromedical nursing and loved it straight away, but I knew I had to get my midwifery in order to get into the Royal Flying Doctor Service,” Ms Ferrier said.
“I knew getting these qualifications was going to be a lot of work and I put it off for a number of years.”
Before taking the plunge and pursuing her midwifery qualifications, Ms Ferrier completed her master’s degree in critical care as well as a graduate certificate in aeromedical retrieval, no small feat for someone with a young family.
However, she said all the hard work and sacrifice was worth it.
“With a young family, it can be difficult to find the time and I had already put a lot of time and money into my career up until that point, so the scholarship certainly helped and took some of that pressure off,” she said.
“For anyone considering this career path, you have to be dedicated and commit 100 per cent. It does take some sacrifice, but it’s worth every minute.”
With her career checklist almost complete, Ms Ferrier said she could get back to doing what she loved most with an organisation she firmly believes in.
“It feels great to be back in an aircraft as a flight nurse,” she said.
“Once you start regularly visiting so many rural and remote places, you realise how essential it is that everyone in Australia, no matter where they live, has access to quality healthcare.
“Living in the city it’s easy to take reliable access to healthcare for granted, and if it wasn't for organisations such as the Flying Doctor, many people would simply miss out.”