Clients cared for by our dedicated Silver Chain staff usually come to us through “normal” channels such as GP referrals and after-hospital care channels.

But sometimes clients come into our care in the most unexpected ways, and our team of Remote Area Nurses encounter more than their fair share of unusual cases.

One such incident involved Nurse Jo at the Leeman clinic on June 23 when local Police contacted her after a 25-year-old man had been attacked by a shark off the coast of the small Mid-West town. He was bitten by what is believed to be a great white shark on the back of his calf and ankle while spear fishing.

With a Police escort, Nurse Jo arrived at the beach to what could only be described as an intense emergency scene. But equipped with outstanding clinical skills honed from a strong emergency department background, Nurse Jo was able to quickly and efficiently administer critical first aid, ensuring the victim’s vital signs were stable.

Jo only had her own skills and wits to draw on, as there was no phone coverage on the beach, making it impossible to call on RFDS personnel to lend over-the-phone assistance.

Once the patient was transferred to the nearby Silver Chain clinic, Nurse Jo was able to provide pain relief and fluids under the directions of RFDS over the phone. The patient was then transferred by RFDS to Royal Perth to the Trauma Unit. The patient is believed to be recovering well.

Silver Chain Clinical Nurse Consultant Manager Tess Robinson praised Nurse Jo’s skilful response to the emergency and her professionalism.

“Nurse Jo performed admirably under a highly stressful situation and we’re so proud of how she was able to provide critical care to the shark attack victim,” Ms Robinson said.

The Silver Chain nurse has been at Leeman for the past 18 months as a single remote area nurse, providing emergency services and primary health services to the Leeman community.

“Nurse Jo has developed excellent networks with external health providers and the local community in order to provide effective health services to this community.

“Our nurse has critical nursing skills that are so valuable to the local community and she is a great asset to our Silver Chain Remote Area Nursing team,” Ms Robinson said.

Silver Chain provides services in 12 remote WA communities where there are no hospital or resident doctors. As a result, these nurses respond to a wide range of health needs in both a clinic and community setting. They also have advanced clinical skills that enable them to deliver a high level of health care.