The Royal College of Nursing has launched a new project to celebrate the contribution of nursing staff to the British military, as part of remembrance Sunday commemorations yesterday.
The new project, launched by the RCN defence nursing forum, will capture the experiences of modern day nurses in the form of oral histories.
“I’m not sure anything can prepare you for the trauma you’ll face once deployed”
The audio recordings collected will become part of the RCN’s archive and showcase the diverse contributions of military nurses over the course of the past 100 years.
Army nurse Elizabeth Kagoda trained and worked as a civilian nurse in London before completing two tours of Iraq and serving in Afghanistan.
She said: “I’m not sure anything can prepare you for the trauma you’ll face once deployed, and the experience of working with people who have severe life-changing injuries.
“The trivial things in life become much less important. It’s given me a perspective on life I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said. “Looking after soldiers is a massive privilege.”
“It’s about making sure the experiences of military nurses are gathered for future generations”
Naval nurse Lyndsey Harris faced her biggest challenge working at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
“I really had to step up,” she said. “We were treating gunshot wounds and blast injuries and needed to look after civilians, service men and women.”
Forum chair Major Chris Carter said: “It’s about making sure the experiences of military nurses are gathered for future generations.
“I want people to be able to come to the RCN in 50 years’ time and gain access to these inspirational stories,” he added.
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “These incredibly brave nurses risk their own lives to save the lives others.
“Their care for severely injured soldiers and civilians is a crucial part of our military efforts,” she said.
She added: “The RCN is immensely proud of each and every one of them – past and present – and this project is our way of supporting their effort and bravery.”