Edited by Maria Chowdhury
Currently, I am a General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO) at RAF Benson medical centre, where I see military patients in a GP setting. I get time off to shadow individuals in their own workplaces and this gives me a unique insight into the occupational element of my job and the effect of medical management on patients in specialised trades such as aviation.
To get a better understanding of aviation medicine, I have been on a two-week course looking at the physiological and medical needs of various aircrew. To compliment the classroom lessons on the physiological effects of fast jet flying, I was able to go in a centrifuge machine and gain first-hand experience of the effects of positive G forces on the human body. ( A centrifuge is a machine where pilots can experience 9G- 9 times the gravitational pull of earth.)
I joined the RAF as a second year medical student when I was a part of the University Air Squadron (UAS). During my time in the UAS, I was able to make the most of a wide variety of opportunities on offer: learning to fly a plane solo, skiing, scuba diving, mountain biking and making lifelong friends.
Upon graduation, I completed my two years of Foundation training in James Cook University Hospital and the Friarage Hospital; I lived in RAF Leeming with fellow RAF junior doctors and other RAF officers. The military foundation doctors are on the same rota as the civilian counterparts but we also get the opportunities to attend military medical conferences and field exercises. At these events, I met military doctors, nurses and allied health care professionals and got an insight into how we might work together in a hospital and field settings, in the future.
At the end of my foundation training, I went to RAF College Cranwell to complete my officer training. During the course, I acquired the military and leadership skills essential for a doctor and an Officer in the RAF. I found the three months course to be thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable.
A career as a RAF medical Officer, along with extracurricular adventures, also brings with it some financial advantages. In comparison to my civilian colleagues, the pay is more favourable and various courses and examinations, such as the MRCS, are paid for. The cost of living in a RAF Officers mess is also minimal compared to the civilian world and it comes with the opportunity to meet people from other exciting professions every day. This is often, a welcome escape from the medical world that junior doctors frequently find themselves enveloped in.
Overall, I have had an amazing experience with the RAF from the moment I joined and I look forward to the next phase of my training. I am very excited to be starting a Trauma and Orthopaedic themed Core Surgical Training at the end of my GDMO post!