The battlefields of Afghanistan are a world away from the St Andrew’s operating theaters, but a fascination with the human body and a desire to help others meant a career in nursing was a good transition for Josh Hawkins from his time serving his country.

The Light Armoured Crewman turned Clinical Anesthetics Specialist Nurse whose service to country runs in his blood, regularly faced the real and dangerous threat of IEDs during his eight-month deployment to the war-torn country.

Originally posted in a mentoring capacity, from the moment Josh set foot on the ground in Afghanistan he knew it was “very much a real deployment”.

“The IED threat was huge. We were in two of the most dangerous hotpots, he said”.

After leaving the army, Josh worked in Papua New Guinea at the Manus Island Processing Centre as the Medical Escort Coordinator, working hand in hand with the nursing staff on the ground and he said to himself, “maybe I could do this”.

Intrigued by the human body, Josh enrolled in nursing at USQ, and was subsequently accepted.

At the conclusion of his study, he was accepted as a Graduate Nurse at St Vincent’s where he worked for three years before he joined St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital in May.

Josh said he was very thankful to have the opportunity to step-up into leadership roles during his time at St Andrew’s, helping to train others and lead by example.

On Remembrance Day, Josh said he reflects on the sacrifice and courage of those who fought in World War I, including the service of his Great Grandfather.

“The amount of sacrifice they did, I think it is important to stop and reflect,” Josh said.

It was only last week that the Australian War Memorial reached out to Josh’s grandmother regarding a family memorial at the national site.

“I think it’s pretty cool that a family member is in the biggest war memorial in the country,” Josh said.

Today, at the 11th hour, the St Andrew’s Toowoomba team will pause for a minute’s silence to remember the sacrifice of everyone who has served.

Lest we forget.

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