We're excited to present Dr. Nadja Albertsen, one of our amazing speakers at Expedition Medicine this august. She is a medical doctor and health anthropologist based in Aalborg, Denmark, and Nuuk, Greenland.
- What made you become an expedition doctor?
My motivation for becoming an expedition doctor is the opportunity to combine something that I love and need - being outdoors - with something that I’m passionate about - my work as a medical doctor and a researcher.
However, finding a way into expedition medicine has not been the easiest, especially coming from a small, flat, and very unexpedition-like country like Denmark. But gradually, working in remote areas and being lucky enough to meet people able and willing to help and inspire me, has helped me find a way into this field and network of like-minded health professionals.
- What advice would you give others who also want to become expedition doctors?
Don’t be afraid to seek people out and ask for advice and guidance. Most doctors and health professionals in this field love to share their experiences, so even if you are a bit starstruck standing in front of that other person (I know I often am), talk to them anyway. And all health professionals love having an excuse to stop for a coffee or beer and a chat.
- Top three pieces of advice before going on an expedition?
- Take your time. Preparation takes time, so be clear on for example what type of expedition you are going on, where are you going and with whom, and what facilities are available. And do you have all the skills needed, or do you need to train for something specific before going, for example, emergency dentistry?
- Consider your role. Be clear about what your role is on the expedition and in the group. What expectations do the others have for you?
- Remember that you cannot, and should not, be prepared for everything. The first-aid kit would be too heavy 😊 But know your limitations.
- What do you always have in your first-aid kit?
Duct tape, reflective blanket, and emergency bivy bag.
About the speaker
Having finished her medical degree in 2011, Nadja traveled to Greenland in 2013 for a two month-vacancy in a health care clinic but ended up staying three years working in remote areas, teaching, kayaking, and traversing the ice cap on skis in 2016.
Always a fan of the cold, Nadja spent 13 months at the Concordia Station in Antarctica as a Research Medic for the European Space Agency from 2018 to 2019 (DC15) and she is now doing a PhD focusing on cardiac arrhythmias in Greenland in a collaboration between Aalborg University and Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland). She’s joining the research-expedition Inspire22 on their skiing expedition to the South Pole at the end of 2022 and will be the first Danish woman to ski to the South Pole – if all goes well 🙂
Read more about Dr Albertsen and follow her adventure here.