Aeromedical retrievals, humanitarian relief and disaster response are all in a day’s work for former NSW Central Coast resident Squadron Leader Shaun Robertson.

After a distinguished career in the permanent Air Force, Squadron Leader Robertson transitioned to the Air Force Reserves in 2018 as a nursing officer. He now combines his 14 years’ military experience with his civilian role as a nurse educator at the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH).

“My ADF career has provided and continues to provide me with many experiences in unique and challenging environments where resources are often outweighed by requirements,” Squadron Leader Robertson said.

“This has made me highly resourceful and resilient when it comes to dealing with the high volume of complex patients we see at the GCUH emergency department. 

“I also have undertaken a number of complex leadership roles within the ADF; this experience I now use to lead and educate nursing staff in my current role.”

Squadron Leader Robertson has spoken of the two military experiences that will remain forever etched in his memory.

“I will never forget my deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, from July 2015 to January 2016 as part of Operation Highroad,” he said.

“I was embedded with NATO and the United States Army as a member of the NATO trauma team and later found myself in the role of officer in charge of the NATO emergency department. 

“The deployment was very busy with a number of conflict-related major multi-traumas, which are rarely seen in Australia. 

“The second stand out experience was working and embedding with the United Nations Command, Multi-National Coordination Centre in the Republic of Korea on Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in 2016 as the ADF Health and Aeromedical Evacuation Adviser.”  

Throughout both his military and civilian careers, Squadron Leader Robertson has maintained a commitment to continued personal and professional development.

This commitment was recently recognised when Squadron Leader Robertson won a much-coveted Defence 2022 Prince of Wales Award.  

The Prince of Wales Award scheme recognises the dedication of ADF reservists and the valued support they receive from their civilian employers through the provision of up to $8000 towards professional development. Each award is granted on merit, from a competitive field of applications.

Squadron Leader Robertson said he will use the funds to complete a Specialist Certificate of Disaster and Terror Medicine at the University of Melbourne. 

“I feel honoured and privileged to have been selected and therefore given the opportunity to undertake this training,” he said.

“My hope is to use this training to provide education back to GCUH emergency department staff and the ADF to assist both organisations to prepare long term for various health responses, but predominantly in preparation for the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.”

More information on Defence support to ADF reservists and their civilian employers, and the full list of 2022 recipients is available at www.defencereservessupport.gov.au