Examining the complex and sophisticated world of the High Acuity Transport Service (HATS).
This type of transfer may not happen everyday but it is indicative of the complexities faced by HATS crews. At the other end of the spectrum is a different type of complexity, one that highlights the true depth of character exhibited in those quiet moments in the back of our vehicles, where nurses focus on care and the comfort of every person who becomes a patient being transported.
The ECMO job came through as a pickup from Air Ambulance, with a medical escort. Susan Cameron, the CCRN who attended this transfer said that they had little idea what they were about to encounter until the patient was brought out of the plane. They were greeted by a stretcher full of syringe drivers, tubes, and a team of medical personnel.
Susan, whose sense of humor is almost as great as the level of her patient care, recalled that she was asked by a nervous PTO if she would like to drive the ambulance. She responded that the idea of driving the ambulance was far more intimidating to her than caring for the patient, even with all of the tubes and the complexity and fragility of the machine and its tubing.
ECMO is a method of providing oxygenation to a failing respiratory or cardiac system. ECMO temporarily takes over the work of the lungs or heart. Blood is literally cycled out of the body, oxygenated, and cycled back in.
Our HATS vehicles are purpose designed to accommodate ventilators, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Biphasic Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP), multiple infusions, ECMO, Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP) – all without interruption to operation. Our vehicles are exceptionally equipped, but these transfers are made possible by the exceptional skills of our staff, and the operational team that support them.
In this case, under all of this machinery and tubing was a patient, a person who was only 61 years old. We know from the sharing of moments and stories, that this fact is never lost on our amazing staff and remains central to their purpose. Susan recounted a moment she had, transporting an almost comatose patient to palliative care. The patient had no family with him on his journey, and no one awaiting him, to comfort him in his final moments. Susan poured her heart into those moments that he was in her care. She held his hand the entire way, and in those moments, she was his family.
We asked some of our Critical Care Registered Nurses (CCRN) what they love most about working for NPT’s High Acuity Transport Service.The individual patient-oriented focus that they provide on the road was at the top of the list.
CCRN Sandra Valentine values the difference she gets to make to the patients. She values being able to have the time to listen to and
really hear her patients, especially on country trips, and be an advocate for them, to ensure the best transfer experience. Sandra also loves the fabulous group of people she works with, that make the workday so enjoyable. She loves being part of such a great team and having a manager, with an extensive background in Critical Care, who “exemplifies and embodies every character trait that she asks of her team.”
CCRN Carmel Corso, has been part of our HATS team for 13 years and loves the autonomy that this job offers. She feels privileged to be able to work “one-on-one in the back of the vehicle” with really vulnerable patients, and the patient focus. Carmel also values the time to really listen to the patients, loves getting to meet and interact with their families and feels fulfilled by this ability to provide a kind of ‘holistic’ care. Carmel also enjoys the travel to regional areas that the job offers.
The HATS service is currently growing to meet increasing demand. We are recruiting suitably qualified Critical Care Registered Nurses with Post Graduate Critical Care qualifications. If you, or anyone you know, are looking for a change from working in the hospital setting, please consider joining our fantastic team of individuals. Give us a call on 8588 4888 or apply via