Chief Petty Officer Michelle Kipling is the most senior nurse at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, a major training base and home of the navy’s anti-submarine helicopters at Helston in Cornwall.
“As a primary health care team, we are working hard to keep personnel healthy and trying to stop them going to hospital, therefore reducing the burden on the NHS at the same time. With Covid-19, it has changed our way of working.
“Our day isn’t as structured as it normally is. We still have fresh cases but we’re not doing them face-to-face.
“We’re doing a triage system over the telephone and if we feel they need to come in, they’ll be booked in for a face-to-face.
“We’re also only seeing specific patients and, at the moment, our priority is to ensure that all of our deployable squadrons are ready to go out there and fight for their country if needed.”
Chief Petty Officer Michelle Kipling, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose
CPO Kipling is part of the medical centre, which looks after the health of the 1,800 sailors based at Culdrose. The 38-year-old mentors and supervisors three civilian nurses, who assess new patients and run clinics each day.
It was while undergoing nursing training with the NHS in 2002 that CPO Kipling decided to join the navy.
“It was during my training when I was caring for the elderly that I thought: ‘I need something a bit more exciting’ but I still wanted to go into nursing,” she said.
“As a naval nurse, we do deploy on ships as well as navy establishments. I was previously at Stonehouse Barracks with the marines – that was interesting. Here at Culdrose, the medical team are also on call if there’s an emergency at the airfield”.
“Since 2012, I’ve been working in primary health care. Our job is to keep the sailors fit, healthy and deployable. If someone has been medically downgraded, we will help them get back to full fitness as soon as possible”.
“We’ll also make sure the squadrons are fully up-to-date on their vaccinations so they are ready to do their roles. A lot of the work is about identifying problems before they arise. We work closely with the doctors and medics and we’ll share information.”
She added: “I really enjoy being a naval nurse. It has its challenges at times and you don’t know what’s coming next. The people you work with in the navy are amazing”.
“What I like about primary care is that I get to help patients and make their lives a bit better from a health point of view. I like being able to sit down with them and talk through treatment. It’s nice seeing them improve.”
Source; Pirate FM
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