In this month's meet the team we talk to Mark Brown, Chief Instructor at Comera Medical Training.
How would you describe your role to someone who has never heard of it before?
My role is certainly multidisciplined and varied. I am the Chief Instructor so I lead the other trainers in the whole approach to training. Current guidelines and best practices are carried out whilst training and I ensure that courses and trainers are structured and standardised to ensure that learners get only the best training and leave with the confidence to deal with an emergency until more definitive help arrives. Client facing, I ensure the customer gets exactly what they need from the courses to maximise compliance and value for money. This is always pre course, as well as during, and I provide post course support as required by the clients. A big part of my role is the training cycle and constant improvement. I’m not offended by new ideas and I welcome positive development to improve.
What’s your favourite part of your role?
I love my whole role. However, to pick a favourite part, it would certainly be when the client engages with us and tells us that we delivered a brilliant course but also, when training, having the learners relax very early on with some really appropriate humour. We can have a great time training and still get all the essential key learning points across. Anyone can turn up and just blurt out training. I ensure that learning takes place.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Knowledge dispels fear.
What do you enjoy about working at Comera?
I enjoy the camaraderie with the other trainers and also the rest of the group. I started during a COVID lockdown, but we still had team coffee meetings and quizzes to break the ice. I like that I can spill my ideas and the group help develop those, which then develops me. The group understands that we are all SMEs in different areas, so working together with candour really brings out the best in us.
What advice would you give to someone else looking to go into your profession/industry?
My advice would be to work on your self-development as a clinician and your understanding of anatomy and physiology as well as pathophysiology to enhance your training, but not to bamboozle people as we keep it simple if we can. Do our instructor course. It will really make you see why we are leaders in standards and instructional techniques. Be nice to everyone you meet when training, and go that extra mile. Make no fuss and lead by example. Follow the lesson plans and stay within the learner scope of practice. Nobody appreciates big words or stories that are not relevant. It’s all about the customer and learners. This will get you far.
What path did you take yourself to getting here?
I joined the Armed forces at age 17. I was a grenadier and rifleman and eventually went to machine guns, as well as doing my first Northern Ireland patrol medic course soon after joining. My era was the Afghanistan and Iraq era, so I eventually went 7 times in total and was a patrol and battlefield trained medic on our patrols. In 2007, I went to the school of excellence and taught recruits in everything from weapons to CBRN and field craft, as well as field exercises and tactics. During my time in recruit training, I absorbed all the best bits from the other instructors and excelled as a trainer.
We’ve all been working from home a lot more lately. What’s your ‘home office’ hack?
I start my day with a coffee, then I work out my plan for concurrent activity. Set my priority tasks and mark them off once done. I also move from my desk and stand and move around often to ensure I don’t get a sore back or strain my eyes, and I drink more coffee.
If you had to share your ‘secret to success’, what would it be?
Everything you do and say can affect others in a positive or negative way, so be nice, be honest and own up to mistakes. Never be late and never make a fuss.