For former Stratford man and new Army medic Lance Corporal Phillip Vind, one of the best things about his new career will be deploying overseas to war and disaster zones.
Lance Corporal Vind, 22, was awarded two of the top prizes when he graduated from the two-and-a-half year New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) medic course recently.
He won the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps Manaia for top Army student, as well as the Peers' Choice award for the student who displays the highest standards of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity during training.
Lance Corporal Vind says he joined the New Zealand Army after finishing Francis Douglas Memorial College aiming to become a medic because he wanted to learn a specialist skill.
"I also really liked the idea of being able to work in a close team with people who share a similar passion, as well as being trusted to perform on my own," he says.
"The start of the course was mostly theory, to get a good understanding of anatomy and physiology, followed by pathophysiology. After this the lessons were divided into primary health care and then operational medicine.
"Primary health care was taught in the classroom, as well as through practical training in our mock ward, and then we were able to have placements at NZDF health centres throughout the country."
The course was very job-focused, he says.
"It's designed so that we are competent and deployable when we graduate as medics. We had already been given a lot of exposure to the trade while undergoing training, which made it less of a challenge to step into the role of a medic after finishing the course.
"The instructors have a military background and can often speak from personal knowledge when discussing various topics, which made concepts easier to understand."
And the focus was on training medics to keep people healthy.
"Our main role is preventing illness where we can, treating issues before they get worse and making sure everyone gets the proper level of care as efficiently as possible," he said.
Lance Corporal Vind is based at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North, where he is part of the Army's Evacuation Medical Troop.