Lewisham Nurse achieves military ambition

BY CALUM FRASER calum@slpmedia.com

A nurse from South London took part in a major military combat exercise with 18,000 troops in Poland.

Lewisham mother Louise Dewsbury, a lead nurse in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Evelina London, is a British Army reservist in the 306 Hospital Support Medical Regiment. Louise, of Forest Hill, took part in a multinational military exercise called ‘Saber Strike’, which was led by the US Army and involved 19 countries and 18,000 troops.

She said: “The mass casualty simulations were very intense and realistic, and wearing the body armour in the blazing sun was hard work.

“One of the scenarios involved our military dog getting injured. Known as Max and made of cardboard and plastic cups, he had an important part to play in the simulation because US Army dogs are treated with equal importance to their handler.”

Louise is one of 11 reservists working at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Evelina London, who give up their time to serve in the Armed Forces.

There are around 5,000 medical reservists working in the NHS across the UK. Louise, 53, added: “The exercise helped us overcome language barriers and highlighted how important it is to know the strengths of your team, to show compassion and appreciate those around you.”

Louise decided to become a reservist because she was looking for a new challenge, having been a nurse for more than 30 years. The mother-of-two said:

“It’s something I’d always wanted to do, and at my age it was now or never.

“The leadership training I’ve had at Evelina London has been incredibly valuable in preparing me for what is expected in the reserves.

“It’s given me new energy and I can safely say that it has well and truly pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Exercise Saber Strike was held on June 3-15.

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