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NEST Provides Learning Opportunities for National Conference

29 October 2012

NEST Provides Learning Opportunities for National Conference

Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) played an integral role in providing continued professional development to New Zealand’s emergency care providers at this year’s Traumed national conference.

Members of the New Zealand Flight Nurse Association (NZFNA) from around the country came together over the weekend for Traumed Conference 2012 to learn, share and develop skills and techniques in the field of emergency care to ensure all nurses are practising to New Zealand Flight Nurse standards. This was the first year since 2008 that the national conference has been held in Northland.

As part of the conference education programme, NEST provided its Sikorsky S-76 helicopters which were equipped to replicate the transfer of an intensive care unit patient. The mock up illustrated the most secure way to transfer a critically ill patient when undertaking an inter-hospital transfer.

Janet Barker, Staff Flight Nurse for the Northland area and member of the intensive care flight team working closely with NEST, says the Sikorsky helicopters used exclusively in New Zealand by NEST provide a unique learning opportunity for the nurses.
“As one of the only rescue helicopters to offer a double cabin, NEST’s Sikorsky helicopters are the perfect aircraft for NZFNA nurses to learn in. With the added room and the potential to carry additional patients, they provide the ideal platform in which to illustrate the best practice procedures for carrying critically ill patients,” says Barker.

Barker is one of the longest serving flight nurses in the Northland region, having worked with NEST through St John for over 25 years and is a long standing advocate for the helicopter service.

“We are fortunate to have helicopters with the capacity and capabilities of the Sikorskys here in Northland providing such an invaluable service to the people of the region. One in 19 Northlanders has been flown by the service, which is the highest ratio in the country. As that number continues to grow, the service that NEST provides becomes ever more crucial,” she says.

The NEST operated Sikorsky is the largest civilian rescue helicopter used in New Zealand, and the only rescue helicopter equipped to handle the long flight requirements and changeable weather in and around Northland.

Due to its speed and distance capabilities, NEST is also called upon to service other regions around the North Island. The advanced avionics onboard allow the aircraft to undertake rescues which no other rescue helicopter in New Zealand is capable of managing, often in adverse weather conditions and to emergency rescue operations situated hundreds of miles off shore.


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