Mums and bubs rely on the Flying Doctor

Date published

01 Sep 2020

The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, along with a universal pandemic, has thrust healthcare workers into the spotlight in 2020. RFDS flight nurse Ashlee Blood says she is lucky to be in a profession with such a resilient group of people.

"This year has highlighted the dedication and hard work every nurse and midwife invests in their jobs," Ashlee said.

"We all love what we do - some days are challenging and others are extremely rewarding." 

RFDS flight nurses have critical care expertise and are qualified midwives to ensure they are all well equipped when caring for women and babies. 

Transfers relating to pregnancies, birth and newborn babies are one of the most common reasons for retrieval by the Flying Doctor in WA.

"It's a humbling experience to be there for women during such a life-changing event," Ashlee said. 

"These families are experiencing such a scary time in their lives, so we have a very important role to communicate, reassure and comfort patients during flight to make the transfer as smooth as possible for them."

Ashlee did her first transfer with the NETS (Newborn Emergency Transport Service) team earlier this year to retrieve and care for a very unwell baby from the South West. 

"The baby required intensive care, so I was joined by the full NETS team which included a paediatrician and a neonatal specialist nurse," she said.

"Our little patient required a breathing tube to be inserted. My role was to prepare the medication for the procedure - lots of double and triple checking when dealing with tiny doses of medication!

"This was a tense moment for the team. The paediatrician remained calm and successfully intubated the baby. It was a successful collaborative transfer and was great to see the NETS team work their magic with the little baby who we were able to carefully deliver to Perth Children's Hospital.

"In those moments, I was very grateful to have a midwifery qualification and experience in the field under my belt."

Compassionate and dedicated to her profession, Ashlee takes great pride in her role with the safety and well-being of her patients at the very core of her work.

"I love that we are able to be there, first-hand, for our patients on the worst day of their life to help and care for them when they need us the most."