Magpas Air Ambulance has a lot of ties with the military, with many of our clinicians, aviation staff and trustee board having careers in the Armed Forces or connections to the services.
Magpas Air Ambulance Doctor Rupert has been involved with the Armed Forces for many years; his life entwined with work in the army.
Rupert joined the army in 2000. After passing the selection board and a 44-week commissioning course at Sandhurst, he became an Officer in the Royal Engineers.
Tell us about your Armed Forces career!
Upon joining the Royal Engineers, I was taught military engineering—which covered everything from bridges and demolitions to power supply and survey. I was then posted to a squadron in Germany, as well as serving in Iraq.
I loved the interesting work and serving abroad. So, when I joined university to study medicine, I also joined the Army Reserves as part of the Instructing Staff of the University Officer Training Corps, which enabled me to combine my studies with the military.
I am now in a Medical Regiment. Having completed the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) course, I spent a few months earlier this year in the Middle East, providing medical cover to the troops with a Reservist Paramedic and a flight team, and integrating with a Regular Army medical unit.
What do you enjoy most about working with the army?
Of all the experiences I’ve had, working with soldiers has always been the best part of it, and I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this. Although leading soldiers is a challenge, it’s a privilege too. The strength of organisations like this is always the people who make them up, and they deserve the best we can give them.
What was the driving force to go to medical school and pursue that aspect of your career?
There are many moments of my career in the army that stay with me. I loved the travel and adventure training; over the years I’ve skied, climbed, trekked and camped all around the world. However, an incident that I’ll always remember was in Iraq. One of the soldiers in my troop had an accident and crushed his hand whilst building a bridge—he was operated on in the tented military hospital there, and that was the moment that set me on the path to becoming a doctor.
As well as your work with the army, you also work on board the Magpas Air Ambulance helicopter. How did you come to work with the charity?
In the last few years of my emergency medicine training, I learnt about Magpas Air Ambulance and jumped at the chance to join. I’ve now been with the charity for eight years and the medical training I’ve experienced here is still some of the best I’ve ever experienced.
What do you enjoy most about working with Magpas Air Ambulance?
For me, once again, it has to be the people that I work with, as well as being able to make a difference for our patients by working as a team and integrating with all the emergency services—all coming together for one goal: helping the critically ill.
My role within the charity complements my role in the army well, and there are lots of synergies between the two. The knowledge and training we have is always being developed. We have lots of clinical exposure, we learn how to work well under pressure and communicate effectively when every second counts—all of which is hugely applicable to both my role at Magpas Air Ambulance and in the military.