Isobel Draper, a third year Nursing student at Edge Hill University, has recently visited Jordan with the Army Reserves to complete Exercise Shamal Storm.

In addition to her studies, Isobel is a Health Care Assistant with the Army Reserves until she qualifies as a Staff Nurse later this year, and they invited her to attend an important and potentially lifesaving exercise in Jordan for 16 days.

Exercise Shamal Storm saw over 1,400 troops and hundreds of vehicles descend upon the Jordanian desert. The aim of the exercise was to validate the concept of a new rapid reaction field hospital that can be flown anywhere in the world and can be put up to start operating on battlefield casualties in just 16 hours.

Isobel’s main role was to assist the nursing staff as a Health Care Assistant in the Intensive Care Unit, which had the capacity to care for two patients requiring pulmonary ventilation following major trauma and surgery. This enabled Isobel to familiarise herself with the equipment used by the armed forces and the clinical procedures, such as medical eligibility rules.

“Whilst over there, the majority of my time was concentrating on the main aim of the exercise, which was to build an army field hospital capable of treating soldiers whilst out on future tours,” said Isobel. “The exercise tested whether we could build the hospital in the set time instructed by our commanding officer, and we had daily medical scenarios which created a realistic environment and helped the team interact with one another.

“It was a great opportunity to integrate and work along another regular field hospital to give me a taster of what possible deployments in the future may be like.”



During the exercise, the team was visited by the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, who was keen to experience the clinical practices and set up of British field hospitals. This generated a lot of media attention from British tabloids, and Isobel was asked to undergo thorough media training so she could be interviewed and express her opinions of the exercise from a Reservist perspective.

Over the two week period, Isobel was allocated a couple of days to attend cultural visits and interact with other integral medical teams.

“I was fortunate enough to visit Petra on a cultural visit, which was fantastic, and I also had the experience of meeting the military working dogs and the Army Vet who accompanies the dogs when they are out on exercise. It was so interesting to witness the key differences between veterinary and human emergency medicine.”


The trip to Jordan fitted in perfectly with the holiday period in the University timetable, so Isobel didn’t have to miss too many lectures.

“Edge Hill allowed me to take time off as special leave so I could participate on exercise without falling behind on my course, and on my return my tutors provided me with support and helped me catch up on things I’d missed.”

Through her studies and experiences in Jordan, Isobel has already secured her first job starting in September, as a staff nurse working at Aintree Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.

An article on Exercise Shamal Storm featured in The Telegraph- click here to read more.

Click here for more information about studying Nursing at Edge Hill University.