“Military Mary” in Afghanistan

Corporal Claire Moses of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, currently attached to 34 Field Hospital (34 Fd Hosp) writes about language and cultural  difficulties working in a field hospital in Afghanistan.

My friends know me as “Military Mary” because I transferred into the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps to be a registered nurse in 2005, originally joining the Army as a military policewoman.  My parent unit in the UK is MDHU (Northallerton) where I work on a busy medical assessment unit.  Out here in Afghanistan I am employed on the intermediate care ward, with a secondary role as an aphaeresis (pathology) nurse.

So, day 26 in the “big brother house” which  is the wards of Camp Bastion. The handover is now well and truly over and we finally know what’s in the hundreds of containers stacked all over camp.

The multinational tri-service team seems to be working very well, which is a good thing seeing as though no one knew each other before we deployed.  The workload is high but sporadic.  Things seem, to be running very smoothly at present and I am confident it will remain that way.  Patient care has been challenging at times, particularly with regards to differing cultures, customs and language, but we’re managing to admit and discharge people in a timely manner.  The most common topic is how the NHS doesn’t prepare you for this environment; it’s unique and challenging to say the least.  Not even an enormous sand storm could stop us treating people, but after all the motto is “Join the Army. Be the best”.

The numerous dubious moustaches and beards are increasing on a daily basis.  Should we have a sweepstake or will we save that for the World Cup?  I haven’t heard any complaints or grumbles from the staff (or at least none that I can put in this blog)!  What more could we want, apart from effective air conditioning and a swimming pool!  Life just doesn’t get better than this.