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Sarah Rauchle - Toowoomba

The roaring heat and dusty conditions of Iraq is not appealing to most people, but for Toowomba local and Army Reserve Nursing Officer Lieutenant Sarah Rauchle it's an adventure of a lifetime.

Lieutenant Rauchle is currently deployed to the Taji Military Hospital as a Perioperative nurse for Task Group Taji – rotation 5, a combined force of 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Okra.

While her role in Iraq is similar to her job at the Toowoomba Base Hospital, the opportunity to serve her country not only as a nurse but as an Officer is a very special opportunity.

"Getting to nurse on a military operation is a once in a lifetime opportunity," she said.

"Walking to work everyday with my combat gear on is something I never thought I would be doing.

"This deployment has given met the opportunity to meet some fantastic professionals and do a job which really matters to people here."

As a perioperative nurse at the Taji Military Hospital, Lieutenant Rauchle is responsible for maintaining the operating theatre and assisting the surgeon and anaesthetist in routine and emergency cases.

"I've had the ability to follow patients from admission to surgery and intensive care through to discharge, which as a surgical nurse back home I would not be able to do," she said.

"While the conditions look austere, the Taji Military Hospital is equipped with an emergency care unit, the same as any hospital in Australia."

She said that while the deployment is very rewarding, she is looking forward to getting back home.

"While I'm enjoying my time here I never realised how much I would miss home," she said.

"I miss talking to Mum and Dad everyday and little things like the cool Toowoomba breeze and the smell of the flowers and trees around my house."