RAF Squadron Leader Sherry McBain joined the nation’s health workers in the frontline battle against Covid-19.
Sqd Ldr McBain endured three abdominal surgeries and one carpal tunnel operation over the last two years, as well as battling her ongoing PTSD. She hit rock bottom in October 2018 and would frequently suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, intrusions and body memories.
The 40-year-old, who has a Master’s degree in neuroscience nursing, is currently based at Joint Hospital Group South at QA Hospital Portsmouth where she is a critical care nurse and staff officer in charge of Healthcare Governance. She has also undertaken the role of Military Liaison as part of QAH Silver Command ensuring that military personnel can respond rapidly to the needs of NHS workers.
Sherry has served in the RAF for 24 years, starting her career as an RAF Medic before transferring to the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service in 1998. Operationally she has deployed as a ward nurse, an ITU Nurse, an Immediate Response Team Nurse, a Critical Care Air Support Team Leader, 2IC of a deployed Intensive Care Unit, an Aeromedical Evacuation Liaison officer and as the Second in Command of the Patient Evacuation Coordination Cell. These deployments span 18 years and include Oman, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Talking about joining the Covid-19 fight, she said: “Healthcare governance is critical during these times of change, learning from rapidly evolving situations and capturing the lessons identified to prevent future mistakes in order to minimise risks to patients and ensure they receive evidenced based care. I have been immensely proud of every member of the team who have worked long shifts and worked across multiple departments. Many have not seen family and friends for months.They have not only responded in true military style but have excelled demonstrating outstanding professionalism and leadership.
“My previous experience in the Operational arena at TMW and the Royal College of Defence Medicine, Birmingham ensured I had the right skill set to help with the preparation and deep dive to understand which personnel could deploy and how quickly in order to support the NHS across the country and which personnel could support Defence tasks across the globe.
“I joined a small team from the Unit and we tested 850 personnel in 7 hours to ensure critical defence output continued in spite of Covid-19.”
Competing at the Invictus Games is the next step in her recovery; it will afford Sherry the opportunity to develop her sense of self-respect and regain focus.
“Having withdrawn from everything I loved as a consequence of PTSD, I want to put myself out there. To compete on the world stage, to represent my country, service and branch would be a dream come true and a unique lifetime experience. I would like my family and friends to be proud of me, to know I have done everything in my power to manage my pain and overcome PTSD, to get on top of it so I own the condition and it doesn’t rule my life.”
Mel Waters, CEO of Help for Heroes, said: “By stepping up to serve their country once again, this time in the nation’s fight against coronavirus, our wounded veterans, service personnel and their families are showing huge strength once more in the face of adversity. The nation’s keyworkers are all heroes, and we are so proud of our veterans and service personnel who are doing their bit to help the NHS in these extraordinary times”.