Being a full time nurse and a part time officer in the Australian Air Force is a lot to juggle for 52-year-old Lynette Eather from Mermaid Waters.
Lynette’s civilian role as a perioperative nurse at John Flyn Private Hospital in Tugun Queensland is extremely challenging.
But so is her part-time career in the Air Force.
For the past few months Lynette has served as a Flight Lieutenant working as a member of the Australian Specialist Health Group (ASHG) at the NATO Role 3 hospital at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
The Role 3 hospital is the size of an Australian regional base hospital and is equally, if not better equipped, and just as busy.
At the Role 3, Lynette is one of eight nurses including six Americans who run the busy Operating Room Department.
“We work daily in teams to provide the best trauma care to our troops, coalition forces, contractors, the Afghan National Security Forces and civilians.”
“We are on call 24/7, even when not at work in the hospital.”
The St. Ursulas College (Toowoomba) graduate is well qualified to be a member of the ASHG.
In her civilian life she holds a bachelor of nursing degree, perioperative and management.
Her military qualifications are even more impressive with qualifications in Aeromedical Evacuation, Aviation Nursing, Perioperative Familiarisation and weapons handling.
With all that under her belt, it’s hard to believe she has time for anything else, but until recently Lynette was a member of the Outrigger Club of Australia which is based in Currumbin on the Gold Coast.
And it’s not just the ocean Lynette misses about home.
“I miss the green grass, the beach, the Gold Coast Hinterland, blue skies, all the things you don’t really see in Kandahar,” she said.
“All the dirt and dust for the past four and half months, really makes you appreciate the beauty back home offers.”
As Lynette heads towards the completion of her deployment, she is happy to recount some of her experiences while working at the military hospital in Afghanistan.
“For me, the standout memories are of working with the trauma teams to provide the best care for our troops and the beautiful local people who have fallen victim to the war,” she said.
“Our presence has helped prevent them being destroyed by the insurgents.
“I will never forget the horrific injuries that we have dealt with on a daily basis and the mass casualty events that saw multiple victims arrive at the hospital and our team working through the night to save lives.”
It is not only human lives that the ASHG has worked to save.
“The military dogs are treated the same as us,” she said.
“If injured the military dogs come to the hospital where we perform emergency surgery and even dental treatment if required.
“The dogs attend post surgery appointments for follow up, so it has really been an honour to serve and care for them.”
Lynette is looking forward to a few simple things when she returns home to Mermaid Waters early next year.
“I’m looking forward to being back with family and friends in the sunshine; also exploring a bit more of our country and enjoying everything it has to offer,” she said.