The medical team is a vital part of the air force and secondly to the New Zealand Defence Force. As a Medic your role is to provide pre-hospital primary and emergency health care, occupational, environmental and preventative medicine to the RNZAF and Defence Force in operational and static environments, often under adverse conditions on the ground and in the air. It is a demanding role, and you will need to be tough and able to keep a cool head in stressful situations.
As a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Medic you will be responsible for performing a variety of medical tasks in various locations.
As a Medic, you will be posted to a base medical flight where you will assist with daily duties including treating personnel with illness or injury, medical administration, minor surgery and medical cover for base sports events. Base medical flights have personnel on standby for all military flights, both leaving and arriving on base or flying in the local area. These flights can occur any time of the day and at times you may be on call after hours to provide assistance if necessary. Medics are also involved in the provision of search and rescue operations and you may be required to provide on call and after hours support.
RNZAF units continually train for military operations, not only on base, but also in field environments. Medical support is required for field exercises such as deployed flying exercises, parachuting, survival training, weapon range activities, and recruit training. A medic will attend most field activities and provide emergency medical care in the event of an incident (on the ground or in the air) and treat any illness or injury that may occur. Medics will often find themselves in situations where they are the only health care provider readily available, and therefore you will have training in emergency medicine. This starts with basic first aid but will extend through to areas including advanced cardiac life support, advanced airway management, advanced trauma life support, and intravenous fluid therapy.
All RNZAF personnel have some first aid training. As you gain medical knowledge and experience, you will be involved in conducting this training, including CPR, first aid courses, advanced first aid for treating combat casualties, and training people who are preparing for overseas deployments.
The focus for a Medic on operational duties is the maintenance of optimum health amongst deployed personnel, and provision of emergency care to deployed personnel and to the local populace as required.
You will perform duties such as daily medical consultations and treatment, checking hygiene standards, and environmental health control and prevention. You may get the opportunity to be part of forward Aeromedical Evacuation team.
You may also be involved in humanitarian aid following cyclones or tsunamis in such places as Samoa and Indonesia, or the Aeromedical Evacuation of personnel from abroad back to New Zealand.
This is a varied and interesting career offering many different experiences at home and abroad. The training is world class. As your training progresses and your skills develop, you will assist in the teaching of more junior medics through both supervision and instruction. You will also have opportunities for promotion and, if we think you’ve got what it takes, you may be selected for officer training.
Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.
While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of your Recruit Course you will be paid as an Aircraftsman and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.
Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of the Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences, you will be contractually obliged to carry out a return of service to the Air Force for three years. Should you complete the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Paramedic) then there will be a further return of service.
Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:
After your Recruit Course, you will be posted to the Defence Health School at Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch for a period of two and half years alongside Army and Navy medics where you will undertake the Graduate Diploma Health Sciences.
The graduate diploma is a civilian university programme from Auckland University of Technology but conducted by NZDF on Defence Force establishments. This training provides sound basic knowledge of the medic functions, and includes human anatomy and physiology, advanced life support, paramedic science, pharmacology, cardiology, intermediate research, disaster theory, iv therapy, clinical practice, and the practice of military medicine. During these two and half years you will be required to undertake placements within civilian and Air Force medical organisations to consolidate your knowledge and skill sets and conduct introductory training and familiarisation to the Air Force.
Once you have gained this qualification you will be posted to an Air Force base where you will begin working as a medic to meet the outputs of the medical trade, the Air Force and Defence. Your training will continue during this time where you will embark on Air Force specific training such as, Strategic Aeromedical Evacuation (fixed wing), National Search and Rescue (rotary wing) and Forward Aeromedical Evacuation (rotary wing).
To maintain your knowledge and skills there will be a requirement to carry out regular clinical and emergency care placements in a civilian hospital and the pre hospital environment with St. John Ambulance.
Other medical training opportunities are available throughout your career, such as New Zealand Resusitation Council instructor training and first aid instructor training.
The next two – four years after completing the Graduate Diploma you may be given the opportunity to transition towards the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Paramedic).