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Nurse Rose is all set to return to the war zone in Afghanistan

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 31, 2012

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A Devon nurse has returned to Afghanistan for a second tour in the country's Helmand province with the Territorial Army.

Rose Chapman, who first visited the country in 2007, has embarked on a three-month mission to support the medical facility at Camp Bastion, the main headquarters of the UK military operations in Afghanistan.

The mother of two, who normally works at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, was deployed last week to work at 243 Field Hospital, often described as one of the busiest trauma units on Earth.

Major Chapman explained: "I came back last time knowing that I'd like to do it again. It was a real high point for me in my nursing career.

"There will be differences to last time but the care we provide is the same and the types of injuries we'll typically treat haven't changed. Nursing is nursing wherever you go."

Having originally joined the TA in 1986 "as a hobby" at the start of her nursing career, she spent 13 years in the ranks before applying for a commission.

Major Chapman has built up extra experience over the past two years working in Derriford Hospital's haematology department.

She said: "This time I'm hoping to take the lead in the apheresis team, which means running a blood transfusion facility within the field hospital. Although we're usually supplied with blood from the UK, in an emergency we can also set up a temporary blood bank. I gave blood while I was out there before and it was amazing to be part of someone's treatment in such a direct way."

She acknowledged that one of the hardest parts of her role will be leaving behind her own husband Gary and daughters, Chloe aged 14 and Lauren aged 11.

Major Chapman said: "As a mother, people's reactions before I went the first time were very interesting, but seeing how my children grew and developed while I was gone was amazing."

Mayor Chapman and her colleagues have been training for two years to fulfil their vital mission in Afghanistan. Most of the unit spent almost a month away from home before being deployed to make sure they were ready for the task ahead of them in Afghanistan.

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