Probably the two most potentially useful skills I learnt in the army were ironing (a skill I try to avoid putting to use at any cost) and knowledge of the phonetic alphabet.
With the melting pot of languages and accents prevalent in most hospitals around the world – both patients and staff – it is routine to have to spell out words to facilitate communication. However, the attempts of the uninitiated when it comes to using the phonetic alphabet can be quite comical – as Dara Ó Briain demonstrates:
The NATO phonetic alphabet system:
ALPHA — BRAVO — CHARLIE — DELTA — ECHO — FOXTROT — GOLF — HOTEL — INDIA — JULIET — KILO — LIMA — MIKE — NOVEMBER — OSCAR — PAPA — QUEBEC — ROMEO — SIERRA — TANGO — UNIFORM — VICTOR — WHISKEY — XRAY — YANKEE — ZULU
After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.
He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE. He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.
His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.
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