Sick Berth Attendant

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sick Berth Attendant (abbrev SBA) is an enlisted technical specialty or rating utilized by the Royal Manticoran Navy.


RMN Sick Berth Attendant.png

The Sick Berth Attendants is a rating for medical professionals who provide health care to service people and their families. They serve as pharmacy technicians, medical technicians, nurse's aides, physician's or dentist's assistants, and more. All work falls into several categories: first aid and minor surgery, patient transportation, patient care, prescriptions and laboratory work, food service inspections,

and clerical duties.[1]

Historical Overview

In the Royal Navy in the days of sail, the Sick Berth Attendant was known in the 16th-19th century as loblolly boy. SBA's were colloquially known as "scablifters" or "doc" in Royal Naval JackSpeak. The Sick Berth Branch of the Royal Navy can said to have originated in 1833 AD when a directive was issued to Commanding Officers to organize a "Sick Berth Attendant" category of naval rating in each ship. They received no formal medical training and it was not until June 1883 that a Committee, known as the Hoskins Committee, after its Chairman, Rear Admiral A. H. Hoskins was formed to enquire into the organization and training of the Sick Berth and Nursing Staff of the Royal Navy Hospitals. The Committee, after visiting Naval and Military Hospitals as well as the larger London Hospitals reported their findings to the Admiralty in the autumn of 1884. The Admiralty gave their verdict in an Order in Council dated October 17, 1884. This Order authorized the establishment of a trained Sick Berth Rating Staff.

The Order also supported the formation of trained female nursing staff in naval hospitals, which in 1902 was to become the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service. It was thought that boys from the Greenwich Hospital School, later The Royal Hospital School, would fill the vacancies. This proved not to be the case, so entry was opened to the Royal Marines and civilians. In 1900, three new posts were created, known as Head Wardmasters, one for each of the three main hospitals.

In 1891 Sick Berth personnel received a new style of uniform. Instead of the blue serge jumper, blue cloth collar and bell bottom trousers, known as ‘Square Rig, they received a single or double breasted jacket and trousers with black buttons, red badges and a peaked cap. This was known as ‘fore and aft’ rig, and issued to ‘all ratings not dressed as seamen. This uniform was also issued to tradesmen known as "Artificers", who were collectively known as "Tiffies". So it was natural that sick berth attendants were also known as "Sick Berth Tiffies".

In 1920, the term Steward was dropped in favour of Petty Officer. Another major change took place in 1965 which affected the Royal Navy as a whole when the "Fore and Aft" rig was abolished in favour of the "Square Rig". Also in 1965 the term Medical Assistant replaced Sick Berth. [2]

TRMN Training Information

Members desiring to qualify to serve at the different skill levels within the Sick Berth Attendant division must pass the following exams and prerequisites:[1]

Bureau of Training Information for Sick Berth Attendant
Course Name Course Code Prerequisite(s)

Basic Sick Berth Attendant
"A" School
SIA-SRN-24A SIA-RMN-0001 (Basic Enlisted)[3]

Advanced Sick Berth Attendant
"C" School
SIA-SRN-24C SIA-RMN-0002 (Basic Non-Commissioned Officer)[3]
SIA-SRN-24A (Basic Sick Berth Attendant)

Sick Berth Attendant Warrant Project
"W" School
SIA-SRN-24W SIA-RMN-0011 (Warrant Officer)[3]
SIA-SRN-24C (Advanced Sick Berth Attendant)

Sick Berth Division Officer
"D" School
SIA-SRN-24D SIA-RMN-0101 (Ensign)[3]
SIA-SRN-24C (Advanced Sick Berth Attendant)


RMN Technical Specialties
Command: Boatswain - Master-at-Arms - Operations Specialist - Intelligence Specialist
Admin: Personnelman - Navy Counselor - Yeoman
Logistics: Steward - Storekeeper - Disbursing Clerk - Ship's Serviceman
Tactical: Fire Control - Electronic Warfare - Tracking Specialist - Missiles - Beam Weapons - Gunner
Engineering: Impeller - Power - Gravitics - Environment - Hydroponics - Damage Control
Communications: Data Systems - Electronics - Communications - Sensors
Astrogation: Helmsman - Plotting Specialist
Flight Operations: Coxswain
Medical: Corpsman - Sick Berth Attendant