From Scrubs to Swimmers: The Surgical Team Saving Lives Beyond the Operating Room

04 December 2023
Surgeon Dr Ian Martin, Dietitian Annalie Houston, Pre-Admission Nurse Sharon Finucan and Clinical Nurse Ben Crothers dressing in swimming costumes in hospital smiling at camera

In the bustling corridors of The Wesley Hospital, a surgical team comprised of both doctors, nurses and allied health professionals is making waves—quite literally.

Surgeon Dr Ian Martin, Pre-Admission Nurse Sharon Finucan, Clinical Nurse Ben Crothers, and Dietitian Annalie Houston are not just skilled medical professionals; they're also dedicated Surf Lifesavers who swap their scrubs for swimmers most weekends.

These four healthcare heroes have taken on the mission of spreading a crucial message about water safety as the Australian summer approaches.

Venturing beyond their roles within the hospital, they volunteer at various locations along the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, safeguarding the lives of beachgoers in Queensland.

Sharon Finucan, a Registered Nurse and Midwife who serves as the Patrol Captain at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

With a history of volunteering from 1978 to 1983 and then again from 2018 until now, Sharon's commitment to water safety is unwavering. She serves as a first aid officer and IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) crew member, she plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of those enjoying the sun and surf.

When asked about her motivation to volunteer, Sharon explains, "I wanted to contribute to a community where I was confident I could use my water skills and medical knowledge."

Her passion is evident, and she encourages others to get involved: "Have a go, you will be well supported. It's rewarding and fun, with the ability to learn new skills."

Describing a typical day on the beach, Sharon paints a vivid picture: "Lots of blue sky, blue ocean, and white sand while being alert."

Her top summer safety tips are straightforward but crucial: "Swim between the flags, swim with a friend. If in doubt, stay out."

Surf Life Saving is more than a weekend pursuit for these medical professionals—it's a way of life.

Operating under the motto "Vigilance and Service," they are trained volunteers committed to keeping swimmers safe and reducing the number of drownings through water safety education.

The Surf Lifesaving experience offers diverse opportunities, from volunteering as an Observer for those less confident in the water to participating in various levels of competition.

It fosters a sense of community, with the club becoming a second family. Beyond the satisfaction of contributing to emergency and first aid situations, it provides a platform for continual learning and skill development.

As these surgical team members demonstrate, life-saving extends far beyond the operating room, and the impact of their volunteer work ripples through the community, creating a safer and more enjoyable environment for all beach enthusiasts.

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