Questions - Medical Assistant Submariner

Discussion in 'Submariners' started by Orion26, Feb 25, 2008.

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  1. Hi all,

    First time poster, but have been reading the thread for a while. Now looking for some advice so I thought I would post.

    I am seriously thinking of applying to the RN as a Medical Assistant (Submariner). It seems to offer more variety with the radiation/environmental monitoring stuff in addition to the normal MA duties. I have downloaded the pamphlets etc from the RN website. It would be great if any serving guys could give some "on the ground" opinions on this job, good/bad points etc.

    Some specific questions:

    1.) Do you get much sea time in this role? Of course, I would expect to have a shore posting some times, but one of the attractions of the navy is sea time.

    2.) It seems you can get some good qualifications in this area, i.e. a Postgrad Diploma in Radiation Protection. I presume this would open up doors in industry/hospitals etc on leaving the navy?

    3.) Is the MA(SM) the sole member of medical staff on submarines? Or is there several MAs and a doctor also?

    4.) What else do MA(SM) get involved in? Does the medical/environmental stuff take up most of your time? Reading the career profile of a chap on the website he says that at sea "I steer the submarine when it has dived". So does the MA do lots of this sort of stuff? (Before anyone says I also understand there will be cleaning etc!)

    5.) It says that MA(SM) attracts enhanced promotion opportunity compared to other MA categories. How does this work, and what is really meant by this?

    Apologies for the length of this post, and many thanks in advance for your opinions and advice

  2. Hmmm...

    1) You do get some sea time - but not as much as some other trades/branches.
    2)Yes - nuclear industry in particular, but obviously medical too.
    3)On a hunter-killer (trafalgar class) you will normally have a POMA, Aleading Hand and one chap. The Boat normally sails with two medical staff - one in each watch. On a patrol, there will be a surgeon on board in addition to the two regulars.
    4)Yep - your watchkeeping position will be on the planes/helm.
    5)Not sure - speak to AFCO.

  3. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Hi Orion, welcome to the site!

    A bit of detail, as advised by "those that know" with regard sea-time on boats, some of which you may already have gleaned:

    Certainly Bombers are relatively stable as they have two crews and you can pretty much plan ahead anticipating a 3 week work-up & a 12-16 week patrol once per year. Obviously this isn't rigid, but it's a lot more stable than on Hunter-Killers (and often more suited to the married individual).

    Hunter Killers have deployed from UK on Global deployments for up to 6 months (with overseas visits) but can usually expect to be on patrol for between 9-14 weeks, but as they have a 5th watch, you should be able to remain shoreside every 5th trip. Theoretically at least. Again the above "guestimates" are as advised from the submarine world and carry the warning that they are generalisations.

    With regard MA(SM) promotion prospects, they tend to be relatively swifter in the submarine world as MA(SM) is an extreme shortage category to both recruit & retain. Unfortunately I don't have accurate figures but if you go on a submariners RN Acquaint Course (RNAC- speak to your local careers office about going on one), you will be able to speak first hand with someone that currently does the job & can give first-hand, accurate advice.

    I'll move this thread into the Submariners forum as, together with Polto, they're the experts in this field (unlike me).
  4. move this thread to submariners behave Ninja what do they know
  5. In answer to your fifth question, the current position is that as soon as you have qualified as a submariner and OPS (ie, capable of doing your job), you will be rated up to Leading Hand. This is an attempt to stem the outflow/encourage more people across, so may end at short notice.
  6. First post so go easy on me. On a "V" Boat you will always have a Doctor on board, a Chief or PO and a Leading hand or AB but as mentioned in a previous post the AB will be a LH quick. Promotion in this branch will be good as they are pretty short and you also get the medical training as well. To be honest you would be more employable when leaving the RN with the radiological qualifications that you would pick up than the medical ones particularly if the nuclear power build program kicks off.
  7. MA's on the planes ? Never heard of that other than qualifying Pt 3 - they always had their own little watch bill, doing whatever they did, and being available for any medical/radiological emergency.
  8. The world moves on. MA's are now always in the planes watchbill. Some are amongst the best I have seen, others are amongst the worst! The old excuses used by medical staff for not planeing are no longer tolerated. They are very busy chaps at sea.

  9. Cheers for the warnings, I am at DMSTC at the moment in trainning as an MA(SM)
  10. Wow things certainly have changed, took about 5 years from passing LMA exams with the points roster the way it was many years ago.

    Ma's were on the planes back in the 80's, well on bombers at least, qualified on foreplanes as a MA on Repulse, afterplanes when a LMA on Reso, Revenge, afterplanes as a POMA on Septre. Septre also tended to grab the POMA as a Petty Officer of the Watch as soon as the boat was surface running.
  11. OK I agree with everything that has been posted so far, and as a Retired POMA SM will add the following.

    If your looking for a real challenge, then this is the way forward.

    As well as piloting the things you will be responsible for every thing which may effect crew health, you will work closely with the stokers and on bombers the missile Mary's.

    Bottom line its a very good and satisfieing job, with the knowledge that no two days at sea will be the same.

    Enjoy it and take all the qualifications from the radiography side you can, the civvies get paid ridiculous amounts.

  12. Just sent off an application and hoping for a career as a MA (SM). Hopefully everything is still the same as the information in this thread is roughly 5 years old.

    If anyone has any updated information, it will be much appreciated.
  13. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

    Prowler, standard answer, use the search facility at the top right hand side of the page, there is a wealth of information on site but you should look for it yourself. Read the Newbies thread in particular. Pay particular attention to posts from Ninja Stoker and Soliel. Some of the others may not be so helpful.
  14. Welcome, Prowler.

    Quick tip for you is that this is one of the jobs which requires a higher score in the psychometric test, so be sure to be at the top of your game when you take it.

    Check out the first post of this thread:
  15. I did use the nifty little "Advanced Search" feature in the top right (I have been a lurker long enough to know), this was actually the most useful thread regarding the career path that I wish to choose.

    It;s just that much of the information is 5 years old and I was just wondering if it was still relevant.
  16. Prowler,

    As far as I'm aware, the MA submariner quota has been filled. I'm not a careers adviser but I did speak to a CPO at a careers office 2 weeks ago and the only shortages were for ETWE(SM), ETME(SM) and chef. Having said that it doesn't mean that they will not be recruiting for MAs again, it just means you may have to wait a while. If it's something you want to do then it's worthwhile waiting for it. You can always use the waiting time to keep on top of your phys.

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)
  17. Thanks for the info.

    As this role is the one that I want the most, a bit of a wait isn't likely to change much, was kind of expecting it. The main reason I want to be an MA (SM) is that, aside from the your main job as an MA, you have extra responsibilities and training on top of it. The wanting to be a submariner part is more simple. I've been told that it takes a special kind of person to be one and I believe I am one.

    Though, it has given me something to think about, doubt it will change anything though.
  18. An Allergy to water helps sense of smell ... oh ... and the inability to be out in sunlight!

    Sorry MODS it had to be done ... I'll get my coat!

  19. Yep, I'm speshul and I think Wrecker is speshul and Sumo and Wits. Plus we all glow in the dark. Polycell is VERY speshul!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. I served on the Renown in the days when HP was carried out by Med Techs. There were issues about the nuclear industry accepting the "paper" qualifications, the HP departments of the nuclear industry being headed by the"old guard" who had worked their way up without any such qualifications. This led to the downgrading of the job to an MA sub specialisation. In those days there were three personnel in a boat's HP department led by a CPO or PO. We were grouped with Stokers but we were required to qualify as planesmen or IDD personnel as our attack team positions.
    Don't really know what happens now but it doesn't seem satisfactory.

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