Coming to the end of my time in New Zealand has given me a full last week. I was lucky enough to accompany another couple of transfers this time slightly shorter distance so by helicopter rather than plane. The logistics of this are interestingly different as there are less steps in each retrieval than by plane as the helicopters can usually land at the destination hospital, so no ambulance transfers, of course for all the benefits there are disadvantages for example the maximum distance and speed of a journey.
Aside from the transport I was able to be involved in one of the regular simulation sessions run for staff training, a bit daunting as the simulation was of a baby with bronchiolitis that became apnoeic and arrested while intubated in the ITU. Lots of talk about non-technical skills and how team approach is needed particularly to support tasks being completed quickly. The team in PICU help run simulations for other hospitals and specialities around critically unwell children using video training to aid feedback, all pretty amazing stuff and certainly gives me ideas to take home.
Other activities included going to the registrar teaching session which was highly education as the topic was organ donation, with registrars from different backgrounds in the room it led to some very educational discussion about the differences from country to country and key learning that we can all take away to improve discussion and patient interaction around a very difficult topic. It must be mentioned Scotland and Aberdeen are particularly lucky to have the help of specialist nurses for organ donation so readily available to assist us, New Zealand has four specialist organ donation co-ordinatiors for the entire country.
In conclusion I have had a unique and varied experience here in Starship, there have been many learning opportunities and it has defiantly enhanced my understanding of how to approach and deal with critically unwell children. I hope the experience has given me new tools to take back to my everyday job in Aberdeen. A big thanks to all the staff in PICU at Starship who made me feel very welcome and helped make the experience a great one.