Field Hospital Reservists Put Through Their Paces
Local Reservists from 201 (Northern) Field Hospital were put through their paces on a military skills camp at Otterburn this summer. Major Kelly Bennet - who in her day job is Night Matron at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust - takes up the story:
"Annual Camp 2017 was held at Otterburn Camp in Northumberland, with the intent to rehearse and revise our Military skills that for some had not been visited for some time. This would entail back to basics, spending 4 nights in the field either in derelict buildings or under canvas, demonstrating our navigation skills and fine tuning our weapon handling. Once split into sections we were to navigate ourselves around the training area encountering different scenarios which would test our knowledge and resilience. Being the Commander of 1 section (above) would allow for leadership development, with an emphasis on team working and the military ethos of ‘adapt and overcome’. My section had familiar faces who I encounter most days at Sunderland Royal namely Rob Heycock (Cote Consultant) and Janice Davies (Junior Sister, Haematology), which saw us working together and supporting each other in very different ways, all under the watchful eye of our illustrious leader Commanding Officer Col Ben Banerjee.
Scenarios encountered included Recce patrols and developing a medical facility. Other section members included an ED nurse, an Environmental Health worker, an electrician and a driver; with a wealth of knowledge and skills to put our facility together.
Remembering at all times to maintain our security (from the enemy) a ‘stagging on’ list would be developed to ensure a rota established security 24/7.
Sleep deprived, maintaining personal hygiene along with a diet of boil in the bag meals (ration packs) gave us a taster of how resilient and robust we as individuals can be, but also an insight to the young soldiers who serve our country and put their lives on the line in austere conditions. As medics we pledge to be available at their hour of need, with many of us having been deployed on these operations. So as the week closed and we’d been pushed out of our comfort zone, we return to our warm beds and comfortable living having had a humbling and privileged experience."