Home' Army News : July 17th 2014 Contents Army July 17, 2014
WHEN she isn’t running
a hospital and nursing
home as the sole GP
in the West Australian
country town of Morawa, Capt
Nalini Rao keeps an eye on
patrolmen at Pilbara Regt.
“In this environment you’ll
see a lot of dust allergies, foreign
bodies in the eye, sore throats from
the dust and nose bleeds because
people have come from a different
environment,” she said.
Apart from her medical degree
and GP certificate, Capt Rao is also
qualified in advanced rural general
practice, which she said puts her
in a good position to serve as the
“I find it is beneficial having that
experience because it means out
here you can deal with just about
anything and everything,” she said.
Apart from normal doctor’s
work, Capt Rao tests and
re-qualifies the regiment’s combat
first aiders (CFA) as well.
“Combat first aid has no civilian
equivalent but it’s a very useful skill
for them,” she said.
“So I think they are quite happy
to come on board and learn the
“The majority of patrolmen
seem to retain it quite well and we
provide an opportunity to practise
the skills and ask lots of questions.”
But having the RMO watching
your medical technique can be a
bit daunting for some patrolmen,
according to Capt Rao.
“Sometimes they get a bit
nervous when being recertified,” she
said. “But they still dive into it and
they relax after a while.”
Each patrol has a soldier
qualified as a CFA and Capt Rao has
enough supplies to deal with most
emergencies during an exercise.
“We go by the ‘10, one, two’
rule,” she said. “Minimum 10
minutes for the patient to get to
first aid, one hour to get to me (the
doctor) and two hours to get to a
After being with the regiment
for three years, Capt Rao said she
enjoyed how it operated.
“It’s great, I love it,” she said.
“The best part is the camaraderie;
we have fun but we take the
important stuff seriously.
“I get more sleep here on an
exercise than I do at home.
“Because we plan it so well
everything runs so smoothly.”
GP keeps soldiers in good shape while on exercise in the Pilbara, Cpl Max Bree reports.
GP keeps soldiers in good shape while on exercise in the Pilbara, Cpl Max Bree
In good health
In this environment you’ll see a lot of dust
allergies, foreign bodies in the eye, sore throats
from the dust and nose bleeds because people
have come from a different environment.
– Capt Nalini Rao, Regimental Medical Officer
Recruits on their Pilbara Regt
induction course walk across
the red landscape.
Photos by Cpl Max Bree
WO2 Andrew Hetherington
THE Pilbara Regt hosted the interna-
tionally recognised applied suicide inter-
vention skills training course on June
10-11 at Taylor Barracks, Karratha.
WA Regional Mental Health Team
members Ian Dalton and Nancy
Hampton travelled from Perth for the
two-day course, which was level three
of the internationally recognised ADF
Suicide Prevention Program.
Chap Richard Whereat, of the
Pilbara Regt, said the course was usu-
ally conducted for junior leaders through
to commanders and managers, but
in this instance was also attended by
members of the Roebourne Regional
Prison, Mission Australia, Standby
Suicide Response Service and the local
high schools’ Aboriginal and Islander
“Due to the remote nature of this
location the regiment works closely
with external agencies both for its main
tasks as well as the welfare of its mem-
bers,” Chap Whereat said.
“The reserve members of the regi-
ment are from the local communities
where mining and industry are a large
part of the region, and the welfare of
that workforce continues to be an issue.”
The course covered topics such as
identifying the signs of suicidal behav-
iour and what to do after someone has
considered suicidal ideation.
“Day one of the course focused on
the attitudes to suicide in Australian
society, and how and why people are at
risk considered suicide,” Chap Whereat
“We discussed factors such as the
high cost of living, the loss of significant
people in their lives, unemployment or
living in an abusive environment.
“Day two covered the suicide inter-
vention model and taught students
how to identify people at risk and how
to respond and support anyone in that
Chap Whereat said the five Army
personnel and the staff from external
agencies learned from each other and
gained new skills on the course.
“The course gives the students the
courage and confidence to actually ask
someone at risk ‘are you thinking of
attempting suicide?’,” he said.
“They can then provide assistance
to the person through their chain of
command and medical professionals.”
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