Hardened sailors have for centuries been wary of the treacherous Pentland Firth where the strong currents of the Atlantic and North Sea meet.
The strait between Caithness and the Orkney Islands is one of the most dangerous with powerful tidal currents and Atlantic storms making waves of more than 20 feet high.
GP practice nurse Roz Ware 51, knows only too well the courage it takes to be a crew member on a RNLI lifeboat there.
She was on crew for 12 years and is now a deputy launch authority, organising the emergency response of her community’s Longhope Lifeboat.
Her job involves monitoring and following crew through each perilous rescue.
The Orkney nurse has been nominated for The Sunday Post’s People’s Choice award in the Royal College of Nursing Scotland’s Awards.
It is an onerous task being an RNLI volunteer. The Longhope lifeboat lost all crew members in an unforgiving storm more than 50 years ago.
“It takes a lot of courage to get on a lifeboat but when lives are at risk, you find it,” she said. “The parallels are those of all of us in nursing who give our best to help patients in need of vital treatment and support every working day.”
Her RNLI role involves authorising the launch of the lifeboat and ensuring all operational activities are carried out to maintain the lifeboat and vital equipment ready for the next emergency call out.
She is the shore-based controller, communicating with the crew every second of the rescue on a two-way radio.
“We are surrounded by very dangerous waters reckoned by some to be the most dangerous seas in British waters.
“It is popular with divers who want to explore shipwrecks and we are called out to help in searches if they go missing.”
Such is her confidence in the safety and professionalism of her crew that she is happy for her son Ben 22, to be a member when he is home from his engineering course at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.
“The calibre of our crew is excellent even in the worst weather and coxswain is superb and highly experienced. I was extremely proud to see Ben and the rest of the Longhope crew given a commendation award for the rescue of 51 of the casualties from the MV Alfred ferry after it ran aground last year.”
Those taken off the boat included a tiny babe in arms.
The family’s commitment to care continues with her husband Dr Iain Cromarty’s volunteering post as medical officer. He is a local GP on Orkney.
Commenting on the launch of the awards, Julie Lamberth, RCN Scotland Board chairwoman, said: “Nurses and nursing support workers are innovators and problem solvers.
“We have a passion for patient care and for our profession but too often we shy away from shouting about the contribution we make.
“The People’s Choice Award is the public’s opportunity to recognise a nurse, midwife or nursing support worker who has made a difference to their, or a loved one’s care.
“Nominating someone might seem a bit daunting but the process is simple and what better way to say thank you.”
Nominate today at rcn.org.uk/scotland/Get-involved/Scotland NurseOfTheYear2024/PeoplesChoiceAward or write to Royal College of Nursing Scotland, 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh, EH9 2HH.
Just explain who you are, who your nominated nurse, midwife of nursing support worker is and why. Deadline for nominations is January 12.
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