Home » Love at first flight as nurses take their careers to the extreme

Love at first flight as nurses take their careers to the extreme

Being winched out of a helicopter to care for patients is a far cry from working on the nursing frontline at a hospital during a pandemic.

But for Roxy Pena, it is the nursing career she has always dreamed of.

The 25-year-old registered nurse has become the first female rescue crew officer for the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service, based in Rockhampton, central Queensland.

Ms Pena, originally from South Australia, said she was looking for an “alternative form of nursing” when she applied for the job.

“I’ve been a registered nurse for the last five years and the last two on the Gold Coast working in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) during COVID-19,” she said.

Roxy Pena is thrilled to be a part of the rescue team.(ABC Capricornia: Aaron Kelly)

“I saw the position going up here and thought I needed a bit of a change so I applied, did the testing and got approved.”

Ms Pena said she hoped to use her nursing skills for those in need — from the outback to coast.

“This is a great way to use my nursing skills for the better and get a different perspective on the nursing care side of things,” she said.

“It’s exciting and something different … not everybody gets to go up in the air every single day for work.”

A rescue crew officer lands on the ground of a helicopter which is yellow, white and blue

Roxy Pena lands safely on the ground.(Supplied: Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service)

Love at first flight

Jess Abbott said she fully appreciated how vital aeromedical work was after realising the distances covered by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and the lack of healthcare in remote areas.

The Cairns-based Primary Health Care Nurse said she always wanted to work in remote communities.

“I’ve been a registered nurse for about nine years and I originally started my career in Alice Springs,” she said.

“I always aspired to move back home and work up in the Cape and remote areas.”

A woman wearing a red shirt sitting on a bench with an aeroplane behind her.

Jess Abbott is a nurse for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Cairns.(Supplied: Royal Flying Doctor Service)

Ms Abbott said she made regular trips to the Top End with the RFDS, to locations where there was no other healthcare.