Private Natasha Smith had never seen a dead body before being deployed with 3 Medical Regiment in October.
But, just weeks into her six-month tour of duty, the 20-year-old from Glasgow treated an eight-year-old boy who was hit by a truck and, despite rescue efforts, died in her arms.
She said: "The children are the hardest to deal with, especially my first one who died. That was horrific. I had never seen any casualties or any dead people and then the very first casualty I had was a child.
"But the TRiM [Trauma Risk Management] process at PB's [patrol bases] is pretty good.
"Having the girls around helped – if it had just been full of boys, it would have been a lot harder. I did cry, to be honest."
Pte Smith is one of just five women living among 160 squaddies at a base known as Lash Durai – the most easterly military outpost in Helmand.
She is attached to the Scots Guards and regularly accompanies the infantry soldiers and their Afghan counterparts on operations and foot patrols.
On occasions Pte Smith has put her sense of duty before her own safety to help wounded comrades. "When I had [to deal with] the upturned Mastiff [a military patrol vehicle], obviously it hit an IED [improvised explosive device]. So I had one guy shouting at me to walk up the track the wagon had taken to get to the back of the Mastif, then the IED clearance team told me not to walk up there. It was a horrible position – to go or not. But, I ended up just running up anyway."
Despite the austere conditions – no toilets and showers made of empty ammunition tins – she was surprised by the situation on the ground. "The way they make out in training is like every step you are going to stand on an IED and you are going to be getting shot at constantly and it is going to be really horrific," she said. "It is not at all."