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    Rich Wain-Hobson

    One of the most frequent questions I get asked on WEM courses and further afield is ‘how do I get into Expedition Medicine’?

    The exact details vary between people, but the gist is often that people find it a bewildering world that has no clear path for success or progression.

    So why not post your questions here? Between the wealth of experience and backgrounds of the FEWM family I’m sure we could all help each other get some momentum!

    Dr Will Duffin

    Great Thread Rich!


    Hi guys! I’m hoping to do PHTLS and difficult airway management courses to give myself some pre-hospital capability. Day job is as an ophthalmologist (ST6) and I’ve also got a Close Protection licence so the courses will tie in nicely I think with all that side too. There’s also tactical emergency care courses which I’m interested in. There was a wemcast last night with Eoin and Chris Gibson and that answered a lot of questions and recommended the courses.

    I’ve been really lucky to do some work with WEM over the pandemic and I guess my plan is to increase my capabilities and then respond to the (hopefully inevitable!) opportunities that come.

    Rich, I noticed you are a BASICS doc? Is that something I should consider too or is it similar to PHTLS/AMLS etc…? I’ve been on the BASICS website and see that they offer PHEC and ICC courses. I just find it a bit confusing as to which course, pathway to take etc. I basically want to do that which will give me the best useful/recognised training for the outdoors/acute/prehospital setting. (also got the expeditions and wilderness medicine course by WEM coming up later this year).

    Rich Wain-Hobson

    Hey Pavandeep!

    Firstly sorry for the epically slow reply.

    You sound like you have a really interesting skill-mix! I’d be really interested to hear your views on managing common ophthalmology issues in remote locations!?? Sure you could teach us loads!

    Courses wise I’m not familiar with the NAEMT ones. Where are you based? If you’re UK based then it might make sense to do more UK based training as it’s likely to be better recognised by UK/European organisations. I’d say the WEM course you have booked plus a course like PHTLS might give you a good acute pre-hospital grounding.

    The next issue is how are you going to gain regular experience in a outdoors/acute/prehospital setting to build on the knowledge you will get from the courses? It depends what direction you want to go in, but options would include joining your local mountain rescue team, doing observer shifts with your local ambulance service/air ambulance, doing some event support work, etc etc. I think as an ophthalmologist you’ll have to work harder than an A&E Dr or a GP to demonstrate that you’re up to speed with managing undifferentiated sick patients.

    Finally, BASICS run a PHEC and ICC which are similar to PHTLS (pretty much). I am training to be a BASICS doctor, which is a lot more involved and means I’ll respond to category 1/2 calls in my local area in my car and provide advanced support to local ambulance crews and the air ambulance. It’s a long term voluntary commitment which can take years to get signed off for responding independently. Most schemes look for a CCT in a relevant speciality (GP, Anaesthetics, Emergency Medicine).

    Hope this helps!


    Dr Will Duffin

    Hi Pavandeep, I love that you’re dual trained in both Opthalmology and Close Protection (apparently!) What a unique skillset, it’s always fascinating to see the diverse range of backgrounds that people come from when entering expedition medicine. Everyone’s got something different to bring to the table! As Rich has said great to develop your generalist and acute skills. Hope you enjoy the WEM course and it sets you off in the right direction 🙂

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