>My DAN research internship was an experience that I will never forget. It took place in Stromness, Orkney in Scotland. The Orkney Islands form a natural harbor called Scapa Flow, and there are several World War I shipwrecks there. It is a wreck diver's paradise. The internship involved two main objectives: collect data for Project Dive Exploration and learn as much about hyperbaric medicine as I could. There was no structured schedule for either of these goals, except for the regular times when divers arrived at the beginning of their diving trips and when they departed.
>The divers typically arrived on a Saturday afternoon, and I would find them getting settled on the diving boats before they would begin diving in Scapa Flow the following day. I would ask them to participate in Project Dive Exploration
, and the positive response I received was astounding. Many divers were happy to be a part of the research. I gave them Sensus Pro tags to wear on their diving equipment, which record time and depth. I also gave them a log to complete with basic details of their dives. On Friday afternoons, after the divers finished their final dives of the week, I collected the Sensus Pro tags and asked them to complete a short report at least 48 hours later.
>Unfortunately, there were a few cases of decompression illness suffered by Scapa Flow divers while I was there. However these events became learning opportunities and the divers remained in good spirits throughout the hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which often lasted more than five and a half hours. I saw how the hyperbaric chamber worked from the control panel just outside the chamber, as well as how the built-in breathing system functioned. I learned how to be a tender to patients who were treated in the hyperbaric chamber and I was able to tend to stable patients receiving treatments. It was the best hands-on experience I could get.
>I was in Orkney for more than four months, and besides taking a few days to backpack on the island of Hoy, I didn't take a day off of work. There was no need. I loved the work I was doing. Nearly every day I was able to talk to divers, and I spent quite a bit of time on the diving boats in Stromness. I was even able to do some diving myself and I am a better diver because of it.
>Leaving Orkney at the end of the internship was difficult. I loved the work I was doing and I learned so much, and I met many new friends there. I had an excellent mentor in Orkney who taught me a lot about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I had grown close to the family I lived with and I was able to work with skilled dive boat skippers who were a pure joy to be around. My DAN research internship allowed me to play a unique role in the diving community, and I am grateful for it.