Career focus: Medical officer in the Royal Navy Reserve
The adventure of service life, the advantages of civilian practice. Surgeon commander Don Smith, Royal Naval Reserve, says he has the best of both worlds
The Royal Naval Reserve Medical Branch provides medical support to the Royal Navy in times of stretch, tension, disaster, or war on the same basis as the medical reserves of the other armed forces. Its principal task is to provide medical and nursing staff for a primary casualty receiving ship (PCRS), a ship in which a hospital unit is embarked upon a royal fleet auxiliary such as RFA Argus or a merchant ship taken up from trade. Other tasks could include filling vacant postings in Britain, casualty replacement, and deployment to ships of the surface fleet.
The clinical team manning a primary casualty receiving ship must have a breadth of clinical skills capable of dealing with the trauma of high intensity fighting, as well as the general medical problems of any deployment and the specific problems of a campaign-non-freezing cold injury, frostbite, malaria, typhoid, tropical ulcer, posttraumatic stress disorder, etc.