Welcome to Adjunct Senior Lecturer Paul Bell, who joins the College of Nursing and Midwifery to develop two new postgraduate courses in conjunction with the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC).
Mr Bell is a qualified nurse and midwife. He has an impressive career history spanning the Torres Strait Islands, Army Reserves, Australian Regular Army, Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH), Royal Flying Doctor Service and Northern Territory Aerial Medical Service.
As a Critical Care Nurse, his operational experience includes the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings and the 2009 Ashmore Reef disaster off the WA coast in which several asylum seekers were killed. He also worked in Afghanistan with the US Marines in the ICU.
Together with the NCCTRC, Mr Bell will create two unique programs at CDU, the Masters of Public Health (Aeromedical Retrieval) and Graduate Certificate of Aeromedical Retrieval Logistics.
“The idea is to develop and run the courses using NCCTRC expertise, which makes them unique,” Mr Bell said.
“We also have buy-in from the RFDS and CareFlight, who need to study pathways for their planning and logistics staff.”
The NCCTRC was set up by the RDH following the first Bali bombing and is Australia’s peak body for disaster management, accredited by World Health Organisation. It has responded to many disasters including the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, 2010 Pakistan floods, and Philippines disasters, to name a few.
“In aerial retrieval, there are many variables such as access to the patient, distance to hospital, and severity of the injury or illness. In the Northern Territory, remoteness and the wet season create special circumstances,” Mr Bell said.
“Sometimes we are intubating people on the side of the road and other times we are helping someone with a laceration or broken ankle onto the plane in order for them to get a specialist medical review.
“I would say 70-80 percent of the work is routine, 15 percent is seriously unwell people and less than 5 percent is critical.”
Mr Bell anticipates that bringing students face to face with experts in the field will increase their opportunities and pathways to work.
“When I did my Masters in Aeromedical Retrieval, one of my electives was wilderness medicine and the lecturer offered positions on his expeditions up the Amazon,” he said.
Mr Bell has a Graduate Diploma in Critical Care Nursing and Postgraduate Diploma in Midwifery. He is keen to gain a PhD in relation to aeromedical retrieval and pathways for all clinicians including the ADF.
The College of Nursing and Midwifery anticipates the courses will be ready to take enrolments in 2021. Students will study externally across Australia and potentially internationally and come to Darwin for intensive residentials.