DAN Intern: Nelson Winkler

Nelson shares his stories from his research in Scapa Flow, Scotland.

I found out about the DAN internship by chance, but it would prove to dramatically change my life. I was accepted into the program as a research intern and positioned in Scapa Flow, Scotland. After the initial excitement wore off, I became apprehensive about traveling alone and working in a foreign country for the entire summer. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

During my week at DAN headquarters in Durham, N.C., I learned more about diving safety and physiology than in all of my training courses combined. In Scotland, I gained first-hand experience working with decompression illness and treatment.

As a volunteer research intern at Scapa Flow, my task was to collect data for Project Dive Exploration, but I was able to do so much more. After getting to know the dive boat captains, I was invited along diving and I was able to dive most of the wrecks of the sunken German fleet. I met and learned from divers visiting from all over the world.

A large factor in my decision to apply for the internship was to learn about hyperbaric medicine. Working at the hyperbaric chamber in Stromness, I was exposed to the very real consequences of breathing compressed gasses at pressure. My experiences there truly exemplified the need for organizations like DAN who perform research with the goal of making diving safer.

What I learned in my time as an intern shaped my perceptions of diving and medicine and will be a valuable asset to me in my pursuit of a medical degree. My eyes were opened to the careers that exist in diving and the similarities diving shares with other disciplines such as anesthesiology.

I would like to thank everyone involved with the internship for their help and support last summer, and for offering me this once in a lifetime opportunity. The experience was unforgettable, and the scotch wasn't bad either.

DAN Internships