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Old August 23 2012, 11:49 PM   #1
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Along the border of Talarian space
Positions

I've been having thoughts on different types of ships in the fleet and the stories they would have to tell, something I do when I've found I've hit a block in my writing--looking at Trek from a different angle.

My latest musing has been on hospital ships. What positions would be the focus of a series? Who would we get behind?

As a primarily medical-based series, I would see that side as being the main focus, with roles such as First Officer and Chief Engineer being more recurring characters (such like Garak and Nog). The Captain would be on the main cast, though he/she/it wouldn't be the main star.

The one on which everything would hinge would be the Chief Medical Officer (most likely a Commander). There would then be several other doctors (though I'm not sure if they would be 'Chiefs' as well, ie Chief of Surgery, etc), the Chief Counsellor and of course the Head Nurse (who I thought might be charming to nickname "Matron"). Would there also be a Chief of Research, or maybe a couple of Emergency Response Specialists.

The cast couldn't be huge, perhaps a maximum of eight mains, and then a generous helping of recurring characters.

Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?
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Old August 24 2012, 12:11 AM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: Positions

Perhaps a place to start would be to draw insperation for ideas for medical characters from such shows as E.R.
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Old August 24 2012, 12:21 AM   #3
SchwEnt
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Re: Positions

That's pretty interesting. Reminds me of Mercy Point.

I always thought that would be an interesting idea for ST, and not necessarily from a medical point of view.

All our ST series have focused on the captain of the ship being the captain of the series as well. It needn't always be that way.

Imagine a ST with an engineer as the lead character or security chief or the CMO or a scientist. ANYONE interesting, really. Why must it be the captain as the Main Character?

The series ER did this. The Head of the Department or the hospital is a character, but not the main character of the drama series.
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Old August 24 2012, 03:10 AM   #4
Timewalker
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Re: Positions

...the Head Nurse (who I thought might be charming to nickname "Matron").
What if it's a man? Or somebody other than male or female?

Something just occurred to me... what about a Ship's Therapy Dog? (or cat, guinea pig, etc.) I'm not suggesting a Therapy Tribble, for obvious reasons.
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Old August 24 2012, 04:37 AM   #5
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Re: Positions

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
I've been having thoughts on different types of ships in the fleet and the stories they would have to tell, something I do when I've found I've hit a block in my writing--looking at Trek from a different angle.

My latest musing has been on hospital ships. What positions would be the focus of a series? Who would we get behind?

As a primarily medical-based series, I would see that side as being the main focus, with roles such as First Officer and Chief Engineer being more recurring characters (such like Garak and Nog). The Captain would be on the main cast, though he/she/it wouldn't be the main star.

The one on which everything would hinge would be the Chief Medical Officer (most likely a Commander). There would then be several other doctors (though I'm not sure if they would be 'Chiefs' as well, ie Chief of Surgery, etc), the Chief Counsellor and of course the Head Nurse (who I thought might be charming to nickname "Matron"). Would there also be a Chief of Research, or maybe a couple of Emergency Response Specialists.

The cast couldn't be huge, perhaps a maximum of eight mains, and then a generous helping of recurring characters.

Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?
Hey, Bry, if it helps, I wrote a Star Trek story once about a medical ship during the Dominion War. It's probably a lot different than what you're going for but it might help.

Here's the link: http://www.stpma.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5414
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Old August 24 2012, 07:43 AM   #6
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Positions

Timewalker wrote: View Post
What if it's a man? Or somebody other than male or female?
Seeing as how it wouldn't be an official title and more an affectionate nickname, then it would be up to the individual if he/she/it wanted it to be used. The thought came to me by using the placename of the U.S.S. Luckes, named after Eva Luckes.

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Something just occurred to me... what about a Ship's Therapy Dog? (or cat, guinea pig, etc.) I'm not suggesting a Therapy Tribble, for obvious reasons.
Maybe the Chief Counsellor is a Caitian, and part of their therapy technique it to curl up on their patients lap
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Old August 24 2012, 07:51 AM   #7
Timewalker
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Re: Positions

Actually, I was thinking of somebody like Porthos. A real dog. If Data can have a cat, why couldn't a medical ship have a few therapy animals on staff?
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Old August 24 2012, 07:54 AM   #8
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Positions

This would be the approximate breakdown of the main characters:

Chief Medical Officer - Commander - Human(?), Female
Chief Counsellor - Lt. Commander - Species TBD, Male
Head Nurse - Lt. Commander - Species and Sex TBD
Intern - Ensign - Species and Sex TBD
Commanding Officer - Captain - Bolian, Male
Position TBD - Lt. Commander - Species and Sex TBD
Position TBD - Lieutenant - Species and Sex TBD
Position TBD - Lieutenant - Species and Sex TBD

The Recurring list would include, XO, Chiefs of Engineering and Security, as well as other medical personnel as needed. The Positions TBD are the ones I'm stuck on. In Trek most doctors seem capable of handling everything that's thrown at them without the need to specialise. No doubt some still will in certain fields, but what would be needed for good story telling? Chief of surgery, Emergency/Triage, OBGYN? Or would they just be some of the best and brightest doctors onboard?
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Old August 24 2012, 07:56 AM   #9
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Positions

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Actually, I was thinking of somebody like Porthos. A real dog. If Data can have a cat, why couldn't a medical ship have a few therapy animals on staff?
I don't see why they wouldn't. Maybe an Andorian hound or a Klingon Targ?
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Old August 24 2012, 07:52 PM   #10
Admiral2
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Re: Positions

Just copy MASH.

An aircraft carrier is usually commanded by someone who used to fly planes, because the rationale is a former pilot is best suited to commanding a ship whose main weapons are pilots and planes. For a medical ship you use the same principle. The 4077th was commanded by surgeons who'd reached the rank of Colonel.

Since the 4077th was a surgical hospital, another important posting was Chief of Surgery, essentially the best surgeon in the hospital. This can be your Second Officer, if you want to make the Chief Medical Officer your first officer. I know you wouldn't normally do that on a starship, but that's the point. A medical ship isn't a normal starship. The idea is that this is a medical command, so you want medical professionals in the greatest positions of authority.

So maybe it shakes out like this:

Commanding Officer (CO)
Chief Medical Officer (XO)
Chief of Surgery (2nd)
Chief of Internal Med. (3rd)
Chief of Emergency Med. (4th)
Chief of Pediatrics (5th)
Head Nurse (6th)
Helm Officer
Chief Engineer
Tactical Officer

The Tac officer would be last in importance because a medical ship is usually unarmed or lightly armed. What you want here is a chain of command top heavy with doctors and nurses. That way, the main job of treating patients is done without the medical people having to defer to some goofball who'll say "Well you can't perform the operation now because I want to reroute main power to Stellar Cartography!"

That's my take.
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Old August 24 2012, 08:47 PM   #11
Pavonis
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Re: Positions

Shouldn't the ship's crew be separate from the medical personnel? Would you really want the hospital staff to also be in charge of the ship's operations? The Chief of Surgery would have enough work to do without also needing to worry about the status of, say, the lateral sensor array, wouldn't they? And medical personnel aren't line officers, so they shouldn't have to worry about walking away from a medical procedure to take command when a renegade Bird-of-Prey attacks them, should they?
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Old August 24 2012, 09:50 PM   #12
Admiral2
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Re: Positions

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Shouldn't the ship's crew be separate from the medical personnel? Would you really want the hospital staff to also be in charge of the ship's operations?
The ship's MAIN operation is healing sick people. Why wouldn't I want medical staff managing that process?

Chief Administrators at hospitals and medical facilities are usually medical doctors, even if their functions are mostly administrative. They do the necessary paperwork to keep the place functioning, but would be available for hands-on work in the event of an emergency.

The Captain and the department chiefs would essentially be administrators, while subordinate medical personnel would handle day-to-day work until a crisis erupts. If the ship has to maneuver out of harm's way in the meantime that job can be left to the helm officer. All he has to do is move the thing while the medical people do their jobs.

The Chief of Surgery would have enough work to do without also needing to worry about the status of, say, the lateral sensor array, wouldn't they?
Right, so leave the lateral sensor arrays to the Chief Engineer, who only has to report to the higher ups "It was broke so we fixed it."

And medical personnel aren't line officers, so they shouldn't have to worry about walking away from a medical procedure to take command when a renegade Bird-of-Prey attacks them, should they?
Of course not. That's why there's a Tactical Officer. Ideally, though, a hospital ship shouldn't enter any area where there might be Birds-of-Prey without a dedicated military escort, say a Defiant that can beat up on the bird-of-prey until heavier forces can follow.

All I'm saying here is that the command structure should match the mission. If the mission is to heal people, then the mission commander and his staff should have some experience doing just that. The last person I'd put in command is some Jim Kirk wannabe that last ran a refit Constitution.
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Old August 24 2012, 10:39 PM   #13
Pavonis
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Re: Positions

But doesn't the second officer position come with certain responsibilities and requirements that aren't necessarily compatible with a medical doctor's experience and abilities? Or is this list just a chain of command?

Of course, I understand wanting to have experienced medical personnel in charge of the mission and administration, but is it too much work, perhaps? A modern aircraft carrier might have an experienced pilot in command, but no one expects the commanding officer to also fly sorties. Would these medical personnel in charge of the ship have any medical responsibilities?
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Old August 25 2012, 01:58 AM   #14
Admiral2
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Re: Positions

Pavonis wrote: View Post
But doesn't the second officer position come with certain responsibilities and requirements that aren't necessarily compatible with a medical doctor's experience and abilities? Or is this list just a chain of command?
All the senior officers will have non medical responsibilities, starting from the Captain on down, and in a peacetime situation they'd spend most of their time carrying those responsibilities out. Officers at the top of any pyramid structure have one main function: making decisions. Unless there's a constant stream of refugees or battle casualties for the ship to take care of, decision-making is likely all these officers will do. That doesn't mean they stop being doctors and nurses.

Of course, I understand wanting to have experienced medical personnel in charge of the mission and administration, but is it too much work, perhaps? A modern aircraft carrier might have an experienced pilot in command, but no one expects the commanding officer to also fly sorties.
No one expected the Spanish Inquisition either. Suppose every pilot rated on a certain aircraft got food poisoning and replacement pilots were unavailable, except that the Captain had been staying current and just qualified to fly that aircraft. Is that likely to happen? No, but its a possibility.

Would these medical personnel in charge of the ship have any medical responsibilities?
You keep missing it. Yes, in an emergency they would pitch in, but it's not like there's only 7 qualified medical personnel on the whole ship. It's a hospital, which means there will be hundreds of people on the medical staff, so when the emergency is over, day-to-day medical duties would be carried out by interns (lieutenants), nurse practitioners (ensigns) and boatloads of corpsmen. It's not that bizarre. That's how hospitals work.
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Old August 25 2012, 02:15 AM   #15
Pavonis
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Re: Positions

That's how hospitals work. Is that how hospital ships work, though?
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