The medical workers on the frontline are playing a vital role during the ongoing pandemic and many of them are also heavily involved in keeping motorsport safe, like Robyn Thomson, who is actively involved in both.
During the week, Thomson works in the Monash Medical Centre’s emergency department as a nurse in a career she has had for almost 30 years, while her time with Team Medical Australia (TMA) has spanned around 16 years.
To say she is experienced is an understatement, with Thomson having seen it all on the frontlines in both aspects of her life and with COVID-19 having a massive impact on motorsport as of late; her two biggest passions have changed significantly.
“There are quite a few messages that have come out of this whole situation, but one that really sticks out is that there is no emergency in a pandemic,” Thomson said.
“It’s hard to get your head around, but what it means is that as emergency workers, we need to stay composed in the line of duty and make sure we’re safe before we do anything to the person in need.
“It’s no use having more people in danger and so in this Coronavirus situation, if somebody is critically unwell with the virus and needs to be in insolation, we need to make sure we’re protected before we can attend to them.
“It’s the same in motorsport, when we are attending to a driver or someone who has been injured, we can’t just rush in without stepping back and analysing the situation. It’s a big similarity between the two fields because you
are on the frontline and in danger.”
Thomson’s entry into the sport began around 2004 when she was looking for something more to do outside of being a mother and working in healthcare.
A lifelong motorsport fan, she realised she could combine her passion for motorsport with her skills as a nurse, which is how she found herself a devoted member to sport and medicine.
As a representative of motorsport working in the centre of the fight against COVID-19, Thomson was proud to see other people from the industry getting involved.
Thomson (middle) in action at Sandown Raceway.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see the motorsport community doing what they are doing right now,” Thomson added.
“I nearly cried when I saw what Erebus Motorsport was doing with the masks. We have all these clever people in the industry and for them to use their talents and help in some way is fantastic. It shows the humility in our world.
“Being in motorsport has been a great outlet to use my skills as an emergency nurse. We are really well trained so it’s great to transfer those skills to race meetings.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering with TMA and during this Coronavirus situation, it’s lovely to see the community really appreciating the front line workers now.
“Yes we’re paid to be there and it’s a our job, but now we’re starting to feel people getting behind us and supporting us and it’s the same with volunteering in motorsport. I always felt appreciated because the drivers know
if we’re not there, they can’t race. It’s very fulfilling to be involved.”
Not only has Thomson seen an increase of support towards healthcare workers from both the public and government, she’s admits the workers themselves are also thankful for the unity shown by Australians.
“Australia has handled it well. Our numbers for general emergencies have significantly dropped off because a lot of people are getting the message to stay at home," Thomson explained.
"The policies put in place by the government are working because we are not getting the numbers have seen in other countries. People are listening and doing the right thing for the most part.
“Monash and other hospitals now have fever clinics and anyone presenting flu-like symptoms are placed there. I would say that’s another practice put in place which is working in keeping us safe.
“It’s tough, but we just need to continue doing what we’re doing and respect the information given to us. From there we can soon work our way back to normality.”