Reply To: Is there a doctor on board?

Back to Forum


Sadly, gone are the days when the an Airline cabin crew always had a Trained Nurse as one of its team on board!
I think with globalisation, it became a much more sought after qualification, to speak several languages, and look a certain body shape, than it did to have relevant experience in the air for emergency situations.

With several hundred passengers, on very large aircraft, travelling up to 15 hrs these days, it should really carry more relevance to have a trained Nurse on board.
I suppose it is too much of a combo to have an Air Martial that is also a registered Nurse! I can think of some very burly Matrons that could do both though! No nonsense Matrons on Board would solve all issues.

Most of us Nuses are trained to be stroppy, assertive, at times prescriptive, and certainly confident to take things in a cool, levelled manner, whatever happens. This was one of the great elements of Nurse training in the UK, though I consider this sadly gone from most newcomers.

Many more experienced Nurses have a natural vocation, and we shall always respond on board when asked or when we see help is needed. Many times i have observed and volunteered without calls going out, as I am sure others have.

But please all be aware as Martyn points out, there are complications and issues that need to be carefully considered.

An Airline cannot take liability or authorise you to “practice”, in an ethical or legal sense. Few would be licensed to practice in several countries.
You would still be legally culpable for your actions, in whatever country, and who says if this is the Airline base, origin or destination of the flight.

There may well be situations where we can do little, or events surpass equipment or competence of any Dr, Nurse or paramedic.
Our actions then become subject to investigation, and interpretation.

Remember, there are Dr’s and Nurses who are imprisoned in the UAE for assisting so called “sides” in conflicts or disturbances…

The UAE also has over 300 medications sold over the counter legally in the UK, that are banned there. Administration of the flyers own drug by you, even in assistance, could in fact be an offence, as could the carrying of that without documentation as required there!

Many issues, but an interesting debate.

I wonder if BT is aware of Airline Policies in this regard, in asking or idemnifying their staff of professionals on Board, in such situations?

Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription

To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below