15 Feb 12
Army medic and mother-of-three Lieutenant Colonel Sharon Stewart recently became the recipient of one of the nursing profession's highest honours. Report by Sarah Goldthorpe.
"Women never have a half-hour in all their lives to call their own without fear of offending or hurting someone."
When nursing hero Florence Nightingale uttered these words in the 19th century, she probably never imagined her battlefield successors would be dealing with the same sort of social pressure more than 100 years on. But for women like Lt Col Sharon Stewart, the pioneer's comment still rings true.
As well as balancing a full-time job and raising three children, the 207 Field Hospital volunteer deployed to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 13.
Now she has been decorated with one of the nursing profession's highest honours for her dedicated work during that time - a Royal Red Cross (Associate).
The award is given for exceptional service to military care to individuals who display extreme courage and devotion to their duties. But the accomplishment did not come easy, as Lt Col Stewart from the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps explained.
Overseeing the wards and staff of Camp Bastion's Role 3 hospital, the servicewoman was faced daily with injured children and soldiers suffering pain and trauma:
"My team dealt with a lot of amputees and gunshot wounds," Lt Col Stewart recalled. "Some of the injuries were awful and seeing things like that was quite shocking.
"Being apart from my children was hard too. My son would often be in tears down the phone."...
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