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Lauren Keany - Nowra

A former Nowra resident, now a Navy nurse, is experiencing a sea-less change in the land-locked country of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a long way from the ocean for Navy's, who is currently deployed on Operation HIGHROAD.

33-year-old Lieutenant Lauren Keany is deployed to the NATO Hospital in Kabul, working alongside Coalition partners to provide health care to Australian, Coalition and Afghan personnel.

As a Nursing Officer in the Emergency Department of the NATO Hospital, Lieutenant Keany is one of the first responders during a mass casualty event.

"If there is a mass casualty event, I act as the triage officer and sort patients by the severity of their injuries," she said.

"We not only help to maintain the day-to-day health and fitness of the NATO forces, but people have said to us that they feel better going out on dangerous missions if there is a high-level of care nearby.

"One of the things I will take away from this deployment is being a part of two mass casualty events.

"In both of those, the medical team saved lives."

With a long list of ship-borne deployments under her belt, Lieutenant Keany said she was missing the ocean on her first land-based deployment.

"Working in a NATO environment is an interesting and enjoyable experience, but it can sometimes be challenging to deal with language barriers and cultural differences," she said.
"It's also the longest deployment I've been on so far."

After spending nearly 10 years as an intensive-care nurse, Lieutenant Keany decided it was time for her career to offer more of a challenge.

"With both my dad and brother serving in the Navy, I've always had an interest in the ADF and the Navy in particular," she said.

"So far, it's been a challenging, rewarding career change, which has offered many experiences you wouldn't get anywhere else."

When she returns home to Nowra later in the year, she's looking forward to catching up with family and friends, and getting back to the beaches around Nowra.

ADF personnel deployed on Operation HIGHROAD are working as part of the international community to provide long-term support to the Government of Afghanistan.

About 270 ADF personnel are deployed in the Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar regions as part of Operation HIGHROAD, Australia's contribution to the NATO led Resolute Support mission.