Archive for the ‘Expedition Nursing’ Category

Calling all sea-loving adventurous medics.

Windfall films are looking for sea-loving medical professionals CH4 Pacific Challengeto take part in a series for Channel 4. You’ll retrace a famous naval adventure across the Pacific Ocean in a replica sail boat, with only basic rations to keep you going.

For more information click on the picture and contact Windfall Films directly.


Team Rubicon: Short term position in Nepal

TeamRubiconLogoOur lovely friends at Team Rubicon urgently require a volunteer medic to join them in Nepal, 19 March – 2 April.  Flights & expenses covered.  Please email a brief introduction and medical CV to .  Here’s the detail:

Calling all medics! There is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a volunteer team going to Nepal in March to rebuild a school destroyed in the earthquake. Team Rubicon UK provides disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

After last year’s earthquake Team Rubicon sent teams into Nepal to help with the immediate aftermath and hundreds of thousands of people were helped. Almost a year on there are still thousands of Nepalis who still need help with basic services. The team is complete except for one important member – a medic. Due to the remote nature of the deployment it is vital that they take someone suitably qualified to deal with trauma, life support, and normal medical problems. The team is 16 strong with basic first aid qualifications but what they really need is a paramedic or other suitably qualified person to deploy with them.

Team RubiconThe trip is from the 19 March until 2 April (flights dependent within a day). The deployment is unpaid but all flights and expenses are covered.If you are interested in being involved in what will be a fantastic opportunity please email a brief introduction and medical CV to .

As time is short Team Rubicon have asked that only those who are confident that they can deploy get in contact.  Thanks.


Related courses
Mountain Medicine


The latest news, views and opportunities from EWM Towers

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine

To take advantage of the World Extreme Medicine Expo early bird offer use discount code WEMEEARLYBIRD30 at the checkout.

Response to the Paris attacks

The medical response to multisite terrorist attacks in Paris reviews the coordinated effort from the emergency services and Assistance
Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP) .
The article offers the perspective of an Emergency Physician, Anaesthesiologist and a Trauma Surgeon, before offering a conclusion.

It’s clear no matter what the plan, it’s the people; doctors, nurses, emergency services, administrators, volunteers and many others, that enable a successful response.
View the FULL ARTICLE on the Lancet’s website.

Jobs and opportunities

The European Space Agency is once again looking for a doctor to join them for a year of research and experiments at the Concordia research station in Antarctica.
Click HERE to see the post on the ESA website.

Luangwa Safari Association Medical Fund need a doctor for 3-6 months to provide care for staff and guest in addition to providing care at Kakumbi Rural Health Centre.
Check out the full details HERE and to read a previous doctor’s blog written during her time in the role click HERE

Course pick

Mountain Medicine 2016 following another extremely successful course in Nepal trekking to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp.
The first piece of feedback we received told us “this was the most amazing trip I have been on” and it is comments like these we aim for and pride ourselves on.
Pre-hospital Trauma Workshops will continue throughout 2016. We focus on initial care around head injuries, chest injuries, traumatic cardiac arrest, blast and ballistic injuries. We’ll also touch on crew resource management and effective leadership on scene in the single and multi casualty scenarios.

“We treat athletes like NASA treats astronauts”.

Last month saw the launch of Vollebak, a new brand that aims to tackle the fundamental issues faced by extreme sports people.

Having lived through the highs and lows that come with racing and training in the world’s toughest environments, founders and adventure athletes Steve and Nick Tidball, started working on products and experiments to help athletes relax and survive.
Click HERE to find out more.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Courses

World Extreme Medicine Conference & Expo


Expedition & Wilderness Medicine and Extreme Medicine Conference & Expo.

Have you used ‘WEMEEXPO15SPECIAL30’ ? There’s only 8 days left to take advantage of this massive 30% off the Extreme Medicine Conference & Expo tickets. Full Ts&CsHERE

Dive Medicine – Raja Ampat

Only 1 space remaining!
From September 21, we’ll be spending 11 days exploring the under water paradise of Raja Ampat. Home to over 1,050 divers fish species, 537 coral species and 6999 mollusc species, this stunning location is considered by many divers to have the richest composition of sea life anywhere in the world.
During this exciting expedition you’ll be staying on the liveaboard Shakti, taking part in up to three dives per day, with up to two hours of CME per day – leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your surroundings and share experiences with your fellow delegates and faculty.
If you’d like to snap up the last space email us HERE and we’ll hold the space for the first person to get in touch.
For more information on this trip clickHERE.

Polar Medicine – New Zealand

In a little over two weeks we’ll be enjoying the snowy wonders of the Southern Alps, and we now have capacity for a couple more delegates to join us.
Our highly experienced team will develop your specialist skills with practical sessions giving you hands on experience of rescuing and treating cold water immersion, frostbite, altitude related illnesses and hypothermia. Essential cold weather skills such as building shelters, snowshoeing and dog sledding will all be included.
If you’re thinking of applying your medical skills in a cold environment, you can’t go wring by starting here.
For more information on Polar Medicine click HERE.
If you’d like further information on our Polar and Mountain courses the check out THIS LINK.

Kili’ medic opportunity

Action Challenge are looking for a medic to join their Kilimanjaro expedition June 30 – August 09 2015. The expedition will be following the Machame route. The medic must be a fully qualified doctor – altitudue experience and expedition medicine course attendance preferred but not essential. Expenses for the trip will be covered.
Contact James Holland +44 (0)20 7609 6695 for more info.

Conference news

Keep your eyes peeled for a special newsletter this weekend with conference announcements that you just wont want to miss!

Poster Competition Liaison

James Yates works for the Great Western Air Ambulance as a Critical Care Paramedic. James has worked nationally and internationally, as a clinician and educator, as well as spending time with HART and UK-Med.
After completing an Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course, James has worked on various events across the world and we’re please he can now use his skills to assist us.
To entre our poster competition for the Extreme Medicine Conference email usHERE



Extreme Dental Anaesthesia

Simple, practical guides to expedition dentistry.


Writing their third article for the Adventure Medic’s dental series, EWM faculty Burjor Langdana and

Matt Edwards have produced a step-by-step guide to local anaesthesia when working in the field.

Achieving Dental local Anaesthesia is a very useful skill to have while working as a medic in a remote area.  This freely accessible article could help you develop a skill to help control excruciating dental pain. A simple dental procedure in a dentally phobic patient would be possible, if only you knew how to get that tooth numb!

Using their experience while working for several expeditions and providing remote access dental cover, Burjor & Matt have produced a straight-forward guide aimed towards doctors, nurses, paramedics, medics & advanced first-aiders which is available freely HERE.

Expedition & Wilderness Medicine logo







The Adventure Medic



Vacancy: Expedition Nurse/ Medical Coordination Manager


Raleigh International

Raleigh International has over 30 years’ experience driving sustainable change through inspiring young people to volunteer overseas.  We are looking for an experienced nurse to join our management team in London.

As the Medical Coordination Manager you will play a key role in supporting our staff and volunteers.  This involves ensuring the highest health and safety standards are met at all times on our international projects, including providing optimum response in case of emergencies.  You will assist in the recruitment and support of expedition medics and vet all applicants to be volunteers and staff.  You will also have considerable input into policy and practice.  You will be a central part of the safety team with a high level of liaison with our overseas staff and programmes.

Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity.  We harness the passion and energy of young people to effect positive change in sustainable development.  Our programmes focus on providing access to safe water and sanitation, protecting vulnerable environments, building resilient communities and developing youth leadership.

Our work is delivered through young people and is a collaboration between local communities, partners and volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, nationalities and life stages. We operate in partnership with communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments in Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, India and Tanzania. Since our foundation as a charity in 1984, Raleigh volunteers have become a global community of more than 38,000 people committed to building a sustainable future.

For more information or to apply for the role please go to:

Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Conservation Research Organisation Requires Medics

Man--and-lemur Operation Wallacea undertakes biodiversity monitoring and conservation research expeditions in countries across the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. We need medics urgently for 2-8week contracts on a variety of expeditions including: Madagascar, Honduras and Mexico.

Many of our projects are in developing countries where medical facilities are poor, and we are generally based in remote areas, so we rely on the help of volunteer medics to join our teams and provide medical support for the staff and students on site.  Accommodation, meals and a travel bursary (which varies in size depending on how long you are available for) will be provided.

Being a medic on expedition generally involves giving health and safety briefings to incoming participants, providing a daily clinic session and being available for emergencies at other times.

You are free to join the research projects for most of the time, as long as you remain within a reasonable distance of the camp at which you are based so it is a great opportunity to get out and involved in research and conservation in some truly amazing locations.


If this sounds like it may be of interest and you are free from two to eight weeks between June and August then please send a copy of your resume to Caroline Acton at


Medical links of interest

Extreme Medicine Conference

Pre-Hospital Care Workshop with London Air Ambulance

Sir Ranulph Fiennes & Extreme Medicine


EWM’s Wild Medicine Course Changed our Lives

We know that education opens doors and as the EWM crew are both interested and a bit nosey, we love to hear what our alumni get up to after attending our courses.  Naturally then, we were delighted to hear from Ian P, who told us he and his wife loved the  2013 Wild Medicine course so much, they’re busy packing up in the UK and moving to Namibia…

Not many things you can say that change your life!  Attending the Wild Medicine course was one of those events.  Amazing set of people and a fantastic opportunity to learn about conservation and desert medicine.  

The kind of odd things we learnt…
– Take blood from a cheetah,
– Learn about (and touch – optional) many poisonous snakes,
– Sleep in a desert,  walk 14km through a dry river canyon,
– What are the problem animals with Rabies? (A: Kudu),
– How can carnivores live outside conservation areas & not get killed by farmers &

– How to build a vineyard in a desert … what?!.. 

And the thing that changed our lives? Meet the Bushmen and see their need for healthcare!  My wife and I are volunteering at Naankuse to run the Bushmen medical services. The real thing we learned? There are many people out there that can benefit from our skills … 

Oh and by the way Namibia is amazing you get to see loads … but you can also get a 4×4 and do a week or so trip before the course.


Other courses of interest:
Remote Medicine
Extreme Medicine Conference

This years Wild Medicine Course



Medicine in Namibia; an expedition nurses perpective

The Land God Made in Anger – an Expedition Nurse in Namibia

Having spent ten years working as a nurse in a city emergency department, four years as an emergency nurse practitioner, I wanted new challenges. I undertook  an expedition medicine course in the Cumbrian village of Keswick and immediately searched for an adventure. As a nurse, its very difficult to get work as an expedition medic, but undeterred, I told everyone I met that this is what I was interested in, (whether they wanted to hear about it or not!). Then on a wet evening in May, a chance encounter in the ambulance bay with an anaesthetist gave me the opening I was looking for.  The anaesthetist told me his father ran a company taking CEO’s and executives from large companies on team-building exercises in remote regions of the world. He explained to me his father was taking a group of businessmen for a ‘stroll’ up a mountain in Namibia, which is just to the north of South Africa and was looking for a medic to accompany them. I thought about it for thirty seconds and immediately said I would do it!

One month later I was sat in the Institute of Directors Club in Pall Mall talking to John Peck, the owner of Executive Stretch – the expedition organisers. It was explained the trip was not exactly the stroll I thought. The plan was to attempt to summit the Brandberg mountain – the highest mountain in Namibia – via an unmapped route using, on occasion, ropes and harnesses in forty degree heat and needing to be completely self-sufficient for five days on the mountain.   After speaking to friends who work as expedition medics, I discovered most medics cut their teeth on a UK-based event such as an ascent of Ben Nevis for charity with back-up support from mountain rescue and with a helicopter on standby. I hadn’t cut my teeth and now I was committed with the promise of an all-expenses trip to Namibia. What could go wrong, after all I probably wouldn’t need to open the medical kit!

The flight to Namibia was uneventful and during the seven hour drive across the barren Namib desert, we stopped at the only services in the country. I grabbed a burger and got back on the bus. On the second bite, I realised the burger was raw and discarded the rest. That evening, whilst sleeping under the stars at the base of the mountain, the effects of the bad meal took hold. The diarrhoea started and punctuated the long night.  Having slept very little we began to climb through the landscape known simply to the locals as ‘The Land God Made In Anger’. The terrain above us was brutal. Out of the Namib desert stretched miles of boulder fields with rocks the size of houses. What little vegetation survived was poisonous or thorny. The local fauna was equally hazardous with snakes, scorpions and spiders, not to mention mountain leopards.

There were eight clients of varying ages but all were mentally and physically strong with mountaineers, ultra-marathon runners and North Pole expedition veterans amongst them. The organiser, two guides and myself made up the complement of twelve men. Each member of the team would have to carry twenty litres of water with the rest of his kit so had around 37 kilos at the start line.   I felt OK, if a little tired, during the morning’s exertions where we crawled, scrambled and abseiled our way slowly across the boulders. Ever present on my mind was the risk of longbone fractures and the complicated logistics of a casualty evacuation in such an environment. Then at noon, whilst negotiating a narrow rock ledge, I heard the shout I was most dreading, “We need a medic up here!”. Having rounded the ledge, I found one of the clients sat on the floor with an ankle the size of a cantaloupe. He had everted his ankle, had severe swelling and reduced range of movement. Perched on the cliff edge, I strapped his ankle and gave him analgesia which allowed him to partially wait there. It was however obvious he would not be able to continue with the expedition. He was helped down the mountain by our only support crew – two men from a nearby village.   The rest of us had lunch of salty crackers and biltong and continued the ascent. About thirty minutes after lunch, the infamous burger decided it was not done with me just yet. Nausea took hold, closely followed by persistent vomiting. I knew I was in trouble by 1600 hrs when one of the clients grabbed me and said “What are you doing!?”. Dehydration had taken hold, and I had been walking like the majority of people present in an ED waiting room at two o’clock on a Sunday morning. As a result of this, I had nearly stepped off a steep ledge into a vertical drop down the mountainside! Luckily, we stopped to make camp for the night an hour later and I had another restless night under a rock overhang suffering with more vomiting and diarrhoea.  The rest of the day was spent staggering forward up the mountain, stopping regularly to either vomit or dress others’ wounds. That night I decided that something had to be done and stabbed myself in the leg with IM Ondansetron, which I can categorically say hurts like hell!. This did not stop the vomiting but the pain of the injection took my mind off it at least!

The next day I was staggering on, vomiting bile and feeling like I was about to collapse. Earlier the guide had told us all a story about another climber who had died of dehydration whilst trying to climb the mountain only the week before. With little hope of a cas-evac and the story playing on our mind, the group kindly agreed to divide and carry some of my kit for the remainder of the day. I continued for another hour feeling more and more delirious. I could tell by the manner of our unflappable guide that he was concerned for me.

Later I asked the guide to stop so we could have another break and I explained to him that I was going to cannulate myself and give myself some I.V. fluids. He asked “How do you cannulate yourself?”. I replied “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it done before”. At which point, one of the clients shouted “Before you do that, can you take a look at my eye infection?”. I gave him some Chloramphenicol eye drops and settled down on a rock to apply a tourniquet to my left forearm. At which point another client called “Hang on! I’ll get my camera!”. I only had three cannulas between all of us and with the last two waterholes being dry, I thought it was likely we would need them all. Therefore missing my vein was not an option. I inserted the cannula into my left hand, got a flashback and, with relief, fed the cannula into my vein. I then injected four milligrammes of Ondansatron and showed the guide how to prime and attach a 250 ml bag of saline. Within thirty minutes I began to feel better. I gaffer-taped the cannula into my hand and told the guide that if I collapsed he should attach more fluids and, if this was unsuccessful, he should inject 50mls of 50% dextrose and, if that didn’t work, I was definitely was in trouble!

Fortunately, as the day progressed I felt stronger, was able to drink some water and at lunch try some solid food. Later that afternoon, another client became sick with dehydration but he recovered quickly after a 250ml bag of saline. Due to the local drought, we were dangerously low on water on day three of the trek and having discussed the possibility of having to drink the last of the I.V. fluids, we decided to not attempt the summit, (only 5 km distant but our current pace had dropped below 1.5 km/h), and began to descend by a known route in search of water.

By late morning on day four, we reached Springbok Fountain. Despite its name, there was neither a fountain or antelope to be found. Rather a small pool of stagnant water covered in biting insects. But with double-strength chlorine tablets, that water tasted like nectar! It was a mere five kilometres to the foot of the mountain and our support vehicle but there was still time for some more drama. We negotiated a difficult abseil then further down the trail, passed under a cave entrance. We noticed fresh blood splattered on rocks and our guide said there must have been a leopard kill here recently. At that moment, one of the group behind us shouted “LEOPARD!!”. In the cave directly above us a leopard stood observing us. Luckily, having eaten its fill for the day, it decided to leave us alone and we finished the descent tentatively.

We all got off the mountain safely and headed to a ‘luxury’ safari lodge for Kudu steaks and the best-tasting cold beers ever! Despite nearly dying, I have already signed up for next year’s expedition, where burgers and waterholes permitting, we intend to finish the job and summit Brandberg mountain!

Of  interest


Expedition nursing: a road less travelled?

BY Becky Cridford

At the beginning of March, with snow still topping the hills of the Lake District, I attended an Expedition Medicine course run by Expedition & Wilderness  Medicine. The course has been developed to equip medical professionals with the knowledge and skills they may need as part of a medical team on an expedition. Participants (mostly doctors) arrived from far and wide, and camaraderie among the group grew with the cosy hostel accommodation, communal meals (included in the price) and the evening bar (not included). A beautiful, isolated location, no mobile phone reception, and an exceptionally slow internet connection, enhanced the expedition feeling.

The course itself was 3 ½ days, packed to the brim with a good mix of lectures and small group activities. We spent some time outdoors each day and some especially active souls were up early each morning for a walk or a run. We learned about medical aspects of very hot, very cold, very high and underwater environments, as well issues that surround clinical work on an expedition: pre-departure planning; legalities; kit and equipment; communication and group dynamics. In the practical sessions we learned how to choose and use equipment, such as ropes and radios. My favourite weird tips came in the wound care session: if nothing else is available you can prevent blisters by taping a crisp packet to your foot, but you should never try to cauterise a wound with gunpowder. Thankfully, if you’ve done your pre-departure planning, something else certainly should be available. The highlights of the course had to be the simulated search and rescue activities which gave us the chance to try out our new skills, by stabilising and evacuating a realistically groaning casualty.

The lectures didn’t rely on a medical training so I didn’t feel out of my depth, and there were always people (faculty and participants) to explain the details. The speakers were expert, experienced and eloquent with fascinating stories to spice up the theory. Overall, the course really whet my appetite to get out and about!

At first glance, there don’t seem to be many opportunities for nurses to get involved in work like this. Some organisations (e.g., are notable exceptions and you can also register with the Royal Geographical Society as available personnel. Not to be defeated at the first hurdle (a valuable characteristic for any nurse on an expedition!) I contacted some organisations that advertised for doctors or paramedics, to find out their reasons for not seeking out nurses. In most cases, I received a friendly response and the offer to consider my CV, as well as some useful advice.

  • • Many organisations look for A&E experience
  • • To be a solo medic, you may need to be able to prescribe everything in the medical kit, so being an independent prescriber is a definite advantage.
  • • Gaining wider expedition skills such as qualifications as a mountain leader, rock climber, or diver could also be valuable.
  • • Consider finding a like-minded doctor and work as a team.

I am convinced that nursing skills are well-suited to expedition work, certainly when working alongside a prescribing paramedic or doctor. In our day-to-day jobs, part of the nurse’s role is to ensure that each patient receives the necessary interventions in a way best suited to the individual’s personality and circumstance; we are experienced at making sure the ‘why’ (maintaining a rationale so that the treatment will work) takes place even when the ‘how’ (the patient’s circumstances) is a little unusual. Throughout our work, whether planning patients’ discharge, transferring a sick patient, or changing an occupied bed, we constantly anticipate risk and prepare our patients, our colleagues and ourselves to manage it and achieve our shared aims. Added to this, it is increasingly nurses who see and treat patients with minor and treatable complaints (including sexual health), nurses who provide health promoting (and illness preventing) advice, and nurses who see and treat injuries and manage wound care – work that makes up an estimated 96%(?!) of medical problems on expeditions (REF???). Our skills are easily and usefully transferred to expedition nursing.

Working in extreme and remote environments means testing and pushing our routine nursing abilities in new and satisfying ways. I think it’s fair to say that expedition medicine is unlikely to be a big money-spinner, but we are fortunate that our professional skills can give us access to extraordinary experiences. Although it might take a little bit of chasing, expedition nursing is road worth travelling.

Book your place on the next Expedition Medicine Course…