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CatholicCare volunteer on the COVID frontline in PNG

When Registered Nurse and CatholicCare Volunteer, Corey Sclater, learned of the great need in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as COVID spread through the country, he didn’t hesitate to respond. As part of an International Health Emergency Support Team, Corey wilfully put himself on the frontline to support our neighbours in need.

As amazing as this is, it doesn’t surprise us. Corey has been volunteering at CatholicCare since 2019 and during the COVID pandemic not only was he one of our Wellbeing Callers, but he was also assisting to develop and implement other programs to ensure vulnerable people remained connected with social services.

“Volunteers, like Corey, play a critical role at CatholicCare and we are proud to see him extending his service beyond our community into areas of great need,” said Victoria Bruzzese, CatholicCare Sydney Volunteer Co-ordinator.

Since answering the call to action from St John Ambulance PNG in June 2021, Corey has also been instrumental in creating and implementing a range of training and education programs to support medical practices in PNG.

“Through this training, 50 new qualified Ambulance Officers have been recruited and/or upgraded, including two new National Ambulance Educators, who were recruited and mentored to deliver the programs,” said Corey Sclater, Assistant Director of Nursing, St John PNG.

Corey facilitating new graduate program workshop practical training
Corey facilitating new graduate program workshop practical training
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Corey shares how his role quickly switched from education to emergency management.

“A third wave of COVID in PNG resulted in instances of respiratory and sudden death cases in the pre-hospital setting almost tripling in September 2021. As a result, we reopened the Nightingale COVID Care Field Hospital to manage the sudden influx. I was managing three wards including 80 nursing staff, 10 specialist doctors and around 10 allied health specialists.”

A true sign of his commitment to the cause, when Corey tested positive for COVID, he chose to remain at the field hospital. He could have isolated at home but wanted to gain the lived experience as a patient at the centre while continuing to help where possible.

Corey at the Nightingale Covid Care Field Hospital
Corey at the Nightingale Covid Care Field Hospital
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When asked what advice he would give someone considering volunteering, Corey was quick to respond.

“I would say do it. The opportunities that come out of it are like no other. The satisfaction that comes out of helping people in a multitude of ways, just for the sake of helping others and being a nice person, is like no other experience,” Corey said. “There are so many options, and CatholicCare is a fantastic place to start!”

CatholicCare has volunteer opportunities available right across Sydney. Working from one of our office locations, in the community or from your own home, we are sure to find an opportunity to suit. Review our current volunteer vacancies and express your interest today.