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ANZAC Day Interview with Melissa Foale

Ahead of Anzac Day on the 25th of April, we sat down with our Military Technical Specialist, Melissa Foale, to ask about her history serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and how this led to her current role at Rehab Management.   

As a full-time medic and enrolled nurse in the Army for 13 years, and as a current reservist, Melissa has 20+ years in her ADF career. In her current role, she uses her lived experience and wealth of knowledge to assist ADF members with their injuries and/or illness by coordination of care to be able to continue their career. 

What was your experience like in the ADF?

Overall, my experience as a medic in the Army has been the best 20 years of my life. I spent lots of time out in the field training and deployed on Operation Relex, and Operation Andoe was a highlight of my career as well as completing the rotary wing aircraft aeromedical evacuation course. Climbing over the edge of HMAS Tobruk while out at sea at night and firing a 9mm pistol off of the deck was an exciting experience; however, I never want to be exposed to CS gas again! Our training was amazing and being pushed to achieve more than what you could ever imagine you were even capable of. I made friends for life and met my Husband.   

As a current reservist, can you talk about what this involves?  

I spent 13 years fulltime in the Army as a medic and transferred to the reserves. Being a reservist is a part time career where you would spend 1 weeknight parading, doing training and maintaining equipment in preparation of exercises or deployment opportunities. You would also parade 1 weekend a month. As a reservist you aim to parade a minimum of 20 days per financial year while maintaining your current career commitments.  

Why are you passionate about your role at Rehab Management?  

Being injured and downgraded in the ADF can make you non deployable and non-employable which can be a very uncertain and challenging time for ADF members. If the process is not explained and timeframes given to a member it can be a very stressful experience. If they are unable to complete their duties, they can lose a sense of belonging and purpose and sadly not feel a part of the ‘family’ anymore. I am passionate about supporting the member with timely communication and providing them with as much information as possible and answering questions and addressing concerns to make their rehab a positive experience and if possible, assist with them being retained and upgraded to continue their career.  

What does ANZAC Day mean to you?

ANZAC day to me is a powerful and emotional day where I attend a dawn service every year to reflect on those that I have served with and those that I know have fallen. To me it is a day of remembrance not only from those who served and died in all wars and conflicts but also remembering those that leave and return but are never the same and those that surround them that also feel the effects. I am proud to wear my medals and thankful to those that have served and continue to serve to protect us and Australia. 

Rehab Management is a nationally accredited provider of rehabilitation services to the military. Contact us to find out more. 

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