Dr Ishani Rao / GPST3 / Kent
Founded in 2021, Endeavour Medical is a new provider of global health and expedition medical training. Their large faculty can boast decades of experience in multiple extreme environments, including mountain, jungle, polar, and desert, and countless teaching and academic accolades. Endeavour Medical delivers an array of courses, including global health, sports medicine, wilderness, expedition, and leadership. The Marine Medicine course, based in North Cornwall, aims to give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence to work as a medic in maritime expeditions and events. The three facilitators on this year’s course were junior doctor Lucy Longbottom, A and E Consultant Anna Shekdar, and Lucy Obolensky (founder of Endeavour and Associate Professor of Global Health). They teamed up with Era Adventures, an outdoor activity organiser boasting internationally recognised surf coaching, first aid, and emergency medical courses. Other faculty included RNLI doctors, surf lifesaving medics, and water safety experts, who covered the London Olympics and big wave surfing events.
Duration: Five nights in total with four full days of water and land-based learning.
Dates: Next course May 2024 (check the Endeavour website for updated details).
Location: North Cornwall. In 2024 it will be based in Tintagel YHA with various beautiful North Cornwall beaches visited during the days.
Cost: £1395. Price includes accommodation, meals, equipment rental, transport on the course, and water safety cover. Not included in the cost: personal insurance, travel to and from the course, personal equipment, snacks, and alcohol.
Delegates: Five delegates (medics and non-medics welcome).
Prerequisites: One day of pre-course e-learning (digital content sent out six weeks before the course date).
Qualification/Accreditation: This course contributes to 25 hours of self-certified CPD points, plus the option to discuss clinical matters for portfolio and complete case-based discussions.
Example Course Contents
Pre-course Lectures Include:
- Preparing for Expedition
- Medico-legal and Public Health aspects of Expedition Medicine
- Medical Kits
- Leadership in Expedition
- Environmental factors such as Altitude, Cold, Heat, Tropical Medicine, and Drowning
- Sea Kayak Tour with Paddle Skills
- Kayak Rescue Training Techniques
- Trauma, Spinal Injuries, Fractures and Dislocations in Marine Environments
- Marine Wildlife Bites/ Stings Management
- Coasteering and SUP techniques
- Surf Life-Saving Training
Endeavour’s organisation and communication were brilliant throughout. Prompt emails were sent out with joining instructions, links to pre-course learning, and plentiful information regarding the course itinerary, kit, and accommodation. The course faculty created a WhatsApp group which allowed us to introduce ourselves, plan our journeys, and open up possible car share opportunities.
Delegates arrived on the Sunday afternoon/evening and settled into the accommodation ready to start the following morning.
Day One started with optional 7 am circuits on the beautiful beach in Polzeath, accompanied by a friendly dog and some drum and bass. Some of the candidates opted for a long early morning run around the coast instead. We then reconvened and headed to Era Adventures to meet our instructor Llyr – a previous GB life-saving representative. His patience and calm nature proved to be invaluable for the upcoming week’s activities. Once sized up with wetsuits, boots, and life jackets we were ready for the activities to commence.
Quite literally ‘thrown into the deep end’ we started the day with some surf rescue skills. Having never touched a surfboard before, and being rather accustomed to calm tropical waters, I found this rather difficult. I successfully lost my casualty once and gave myself multiple saline nasal irrigations. But, with brilliant instruction, I got used to the cold choppy waters and developed new-found paddling techniques. The water activities presented plentiful opportunities to manage drownings and spinal trauma scenarios, and I became proficient at pulling casualties onto my surfboard.
After a much-appreciated hot shower and delicious lunch, we returned to the sea to practice some coasteering and further key rescue skills. We bobbed around some beautiful caves, jumped off cliffs, practiced delivering rescue breaths to drowning casualties, and towed each other to safety. After a few hours of this I was quite tired, but also concerned that this was just the warm up. Fortunately I was reassured by the team that the conditions had been rather testing that day! We enjoyed a glass of wine in the evening over another delicious meal and discussed the legal aspects of working in marine environments. The day finished with a brilliant talk from a cruise ship doctor who video called us directly from her office at sea.
The week became physically easier as the sun came out and the sea calmed down, creating visually tropical, crystal-clear waters. We enjoyed a hike to Port Quin where Anna scared us repetitively by developing symptoms for us to manage. As a team we learnt how to splint fractures, manage dislocations, then package and evacuate our casualties. We became accustomed to using the contents of the small and portable medical bag, including what analgesia to use and when. All of this required close communication among our team, as well as other services on land, which helped the team to become more proficient at using the walkie-talkies and radios.
Over the following days, we planned expeditions factoring in routes, weather conditions, and medical equipment. We set off on a mini “expedition”, camping in a field and enjoying a refreshing but beautiful evening swim. This led seamlessly to a scenario of a hypothermic patient. As a team, we learnt how to get the patient into a “burrito roll” to prevent dangerous hypothermia from developing. To stay nice and warm ourselves we set up a lovely fire that became perfect for toasting marshmallows on.
Some of the less clinical activities included a relaxing paddleboard and prosecco, surf lessons (which I found highly addictive), and a rather hilarious game of ‘Beach Flag Bingo’, a novel way of testing our beach sign knowledge.
I could not recommend this course enough. I came back from the course motivated, inspired, achy (in a good way), excited to read more, and feeling like I had challenged myself to a new level. Beyond acquisition of new knowledge and clinical skills, this course facilitated fascinating conversations with the faculty and other delegates, whilst providing nutritious meals throughout the day. There are many skills I hope to take with me to aid my career in expedition medicine such as completing a thorough pre-travel medical screening, and familiarising myself with all the equipment in advance to name a few.
I am grateful to the team and to the other participants for making this such an educational and enjoyable week. It has provided me with a wonderful introduction to the knowledge and skills as I develop my career in humanitarian and conservation medicine in remote environments. Thank you so much Endeavour.
I found having a background in Emergency Medicine to be very useful when dealing with emergency scenarios during this course, but this is not a pre-requisite. No matter what your previous level of experience is, you will learn how to manage the same scenarios with brilliant instruction and supervision. This course would be suitable for paramedics, advanced first aid practitioners, and emergency and expedition nurses or professionals.
To find out more about Endeavour’s Marine Medicine Course in North Cornwall, see Endeavour’s website
Photos courtesy of the Endeavour Faculty