New heights in nursing with the Royal Australian Air Force

Leigh Molloy has taken her nursing career to a new level as a flight Lieutenant with the Royal Australian Air Force.

As a nursing officer in the 1st Expeditionary Health Squadron at Brisbane’s Amberley Medical Centre, Leigh experienced the Ashmore Reef disaster in April 2009 first hand.

Leigh was called in after the boat carrying 41 asylum seekers exploded off the north-west coast of Australia, killing five.

Leigh joined an Army nurse and doctor just hours after the explosion, who were then all flown to Truscott Airfield to assist with the evacuation and medical treatment of the civilians. Leigh herself helped co-ordinate the aero-medical evacuations from Truscott Island to Perth, Western Australia.

β€œI acted as liaison between the Air Force and the civilian nurses and doctors; we were all working together to evacuate the patients during the crisis,” she said.

Leigh was deployed in Dubai for four months last year, as a senior nursing officer on base at the Royal Australian Air Force facility.

β€œIt was extremely busy but a real highlight of a rewarding career,” she said.

Leigh began her nursing degree at the James Cook University with the sole intent of becoming an officer in the RAAF.

After completing her biomedical science degree, Leigh began a Bachelor of Nursing degree at JCU with a Defence university sponsorship, allowing her to focus on studying and work placement without the extra demands of an additional part-time job.

After completing her degree, Leigh worked for two years as an Air Force employee at a civilian base hospital, before becoming the officer in charge of outpatients at Amberley Medical Centre.

Leigh says she loves being a nursing officer and has no plans to return to civilian nursing.

While other nursing officers chose to study a post-grad in emergency nursing or intensive care, Leighs commitment to general nursing allowed her to take on a more managerial role.

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