Equipped, Prepared, Ready – Building acute care Health Emergencies Response workforce

Bronte Martin1,2

1Royal Darwin Hospital, 2Darwin International Airport

Uniquely located in Darwin, Australia, the NCCTRC was established in 2005 in the wake of the 2002 Bali bombings, and is the central coordination hub for Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) program. As a world-leading Operational Centre for Excellence in Disaster care and Response, funded by Australia’s Department of Health, the NCCTRC actively fosters integrated disaster preparedness foundations throughout the Region, establishing training, response and national capacity building partnerships.

Tasked to maintain and deploy an acute care medical capability and national workforce on behalf of the Australian government to sudden onset disasters (SODs), Outbreak and Health emergencies of national and international significance, the AUSMAT capability includes a fully self-sufficient, deployable Type 2 Surgical Field Hospital. Recent deployments include 2019 Measles Epidemic (Samoa), 2018 PNG Earthquake, and Tropical Cyclones Gita in 2018 (Tonga), Pam in 2015 (Vanuatu) and Winston in 2016 (Fiji) and the 2013 super-typhoon Haiyan (Philippines).

Delivery of care in an austere disaster environment creates many unique nursing challenges; operating in a resource limited multidisciplinary team, identifying relevant scopes of practice, specialised skill sets and currency requirements, competency and skill mix considerations, human resource management and patient flow. Nursing leadership is pivotal in ensuring quality, effective and efficient acute care responses, in both austere, limited resource and environmentally challenging settings.


RN, BNurs, MNurs, GDipNSc (Emerg), CritCCert, DipGov & ADipPersOps, MRCNA

Bronte Martin is the Director of Nursing (Trauma & Disaster) and founding member of the National Critical Care Trauma Response Centre responsible for providing clinical governance and oversight for the Australian Medical Assistance Team deployable 60 bed Field Surgical Hospital capability.

She is currently both Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) Mission & Clinical Team Leader and Australian representative for UN Disaster Assessment Coordination Teams (UNDAC); with deployments in response to Tropical Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu, Philippines super-Typhoon Haiyan and most recently Samoan Measles Epidemic, and active coordination of the Australian Government’s AUSMAT response to Tropical Cyclone Gita, Tonga and Papua New Guinea Highlands Earthquakes in 2018.

Bronte is also a Wing Commander in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve; previous operational experiences include deployments to Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

In 2016 Bronte returned from a 6-month secondment with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Secretariat in Geneva to develop and establish the Global Classification, Mentorship & Verification program; ensuring validated, quality international Emergency medical care is delivered in response to sudden onset disasters.

In 2017 Bronte assumed the inaugural role on behalf of WHO as Regional Chair – Western Pacific for Emergency Medical Teams; actively mentoring 10 International EMTs from around the globe towards achieving WHO Global Classification and validation of national capacities to respond in Emergencies.