Visionary van hits the road
Lions Outback Vision Van Coordinator Sharon Brown laughingly admits that the 20 metre long rig she has driven to 12 regional locations so far in Western Australia attracts a fair bit of attention.
It’s something that comes with the territory when you have the responsibility of driving the Lions Outback Vision Van - fitted with four consulting rooms and world leading eye health technology. But driving the Van is only part of Sharon’s unusual combination of skills – she’s also a nurse.
"I’m lucky enough to have the most unique job, I think. I can drive the truck to site, get it all organised, service it, do all the things to keep it on the road and then I take that ‘hat’ off and put my nurse’s uniform on and nurse in the back and have the patient interaction that way."
Sharon jokes that it’s her advice that the Director of Lions Outback Vision, Dr Angus Turner sought, when he went “truck shopping” for the vehicle to deliver on his plan to bring state of the art eye care to patients in regional Western Australia.
Supported by a Lotterywest grant of nearly $2 million, the Lions Outback Vision Van will travel more than 24,000km a year throughout the State and has the capacity to treat up to 200 people each week.
Dr Turner said the Vision Van meant regional patients with eye conditions could be treated earlier, potentially saving their sight;
"I have been working in country areas in Western Australia for over five years and it’s really rewarding work, but one of the frustrations has been watching the equipment improve in the city and we’re not keeping up in the country areas. This Vision Van changes this for patients and you can see the difference it makes and that is really rewarding."
Take a tour through the van here.