To mark International Nurses Day, LifeFlight says it is celebrating all of its skilled and compassionate nursing staff who work on its helicopters and jets, helping to save lives around the world.
The life of a flight nurse is intense, challenging, and never boring, noted the Queensland, Australia-based aeromedical charity. LifeFlight nurse Renee Bolot explained: “You take all the skills you learn in a hospital and put them into an environment which is sort of similar to an emergency department, but more intense. Every day you’re learning, growing, and getting better at your job.”
Bolot said she was ‘born into nursing’, with several family members including her aunt and cousin also working in the profession. “There was also an influential time in my life when I broke my leg at a very young age and I remember being in the hospital and being looked after by this really great nurse and I just wanted to be like her. It’s something I have always been interested in doing,” Bolot remembered.
In almost 16 years as a nurse, Bolot has worked at some of the busiest hospitals in Australia and overseas, said LifeFlight. She’s spent time in Sydney, at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and in London working in emergency departments and intensive care units. While she’s no stranger to a fast-paced environment, she says nothing compares to being a flight nurse working in the confined space of a helicopter or small jet. “I felt that whilst I had gained so much amazing experience in a hospital setting, I needed a change and LifeFlight was the perfect fit,” Bolot said.
She has been on many memorable missions since joining LifeFlight two years ago, but one in particular has stuck in her mind – a man who was airlifted from Hervey Bay Hospital with a serious medical condition: a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, said the charity. Bolot commented: “It turned into a race against time because the only treatment for this man was emergency surgery in Brisbane.”
To add to the challenge, the crew was facing 'wild' weather on their flight from Hervey Bay Hospital to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Bolot said: “I remember we arrived at the hospital just in time and the man was rushed into surgery. We phoned his wife and told her he had made it into surgery; I'll never forget her relief. He spent a few weeks in the intensive care unit, but he made a full recovery.”
LifeFlight Retrieval Medicine employs 24 nurses at Brisbane and Townsville. They accompany doctors on a range of aeromedical flights on the charity’s Brisbane rescue helicopter and on its air ambulance jet service, caring for hundreds of patients every year.
Bolot stated: “My colleagues are amazing. I think every nurse who works within the field of aeromedicine is so individual. There are many great facets to their personality which make them caring and compassionate nurses. Everyone is different and unique in their own way. We’ve all got our different personalities and strengths, but we work together to provide great patient care and achieve the best possible patient outcomes. We have all found our little niche and I think we love working for LifeFlight because it’s so different to anything any of us have ever done before.”