NURSE Nicola Baker will soon be doing her rounds armed with a rifle.
Because the former Peterborough schoolgirl is swapping the relatively quiet and sedate wards of Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital for a military hospital in Iraq.
Nicola (34), an RAF Flight Lieutenant, will only lay down the rifle when she treats patients.
The ex-Walton Community School pupil will fly out to the Basra province in southern Iraq on November 3, and will spend three months working in a hospital in the town of Shaibah.
And she has spent weeks making sure she is prepared to deal with whatever comes her way.
Nicola said: "We were taught to deal with every eventuality, from working in a team, to using a rifle and surviving different types of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.
"As a nurse I'm used to seeing badly injured people, and I've got a good idea of what people look like when they have bits missing. It's part of my job to deal with it."
It took 18 months for Nicola to train as an RAF Flight Lieutenant - even though the course normally lasts 11 weeks. The nurse was a month into the programme when a mystery shin injury left her ambitions in tatters.
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