Newcastle radiographer scans the Pacific
20 July 2015
Newcastle's Flight Lieutenant Lauren Norvill, a radiographer from 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron based at RAAF Williamtown is a long way from home on a key mission.
Based onboard hospital ship USNS Mercy, Lauren is deployed on Pacific Partnership 2015, an annual United States sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance mission which is visiting remote communities in Kiribati, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Lauren is one of two Australian radiographers in a team of 12 in USNS Mercy providing services to orthopaedic cases which typically present as fractures which have not been treated successfully resulting in bones not setting properly.
She also conducts ultra-sounds, CT scans and fluoroscopes.
Although Flight Lieutenant Norvill is a permanent Air Force member, in Australia she is currently placed in a local private practice.
"The good thing is we get to work in trauma hospitals which have emergency departments and outpatient care, and that prepares us very well for when we need to apply those skills in a military environment," Lauren said.
The rest of Lauren’s family has no connection with the Defence Force but they are proud of the career choice she has made.
"When I first joined the Air Force I think it surprised a few people because it’s not in my family and not something any of my friends have done, but at the time it was a great opportunity to do the undergraduate officer scheme," said Lauren.
"I value this opportunity a lot and I am trying to make the most of it. It really is a privilege to be deployed on Pacific Partnership and I am taking every chance to give back to the communities we are visiting."
Lauren said that this was her first deployment and it was a very competitive selection process before being chosen for Pacific Partnership.
Opportunities for radiographers to work on operations or overseas are rare so she was extremely happy to get the chance to work in this environment.
Through Pacific Partnership, Australia is providing engineering and medical support to communities which otherwise would not have access to a high standard of those services.
Twenty-five medical staff across a wide range of disciplines have integrated into the largely United States teams operating out of the thousand bed hospital ship USNS Mercy.