Lance Corporal Nadine Nitschke is one of those people who thrives in high-pressure situations.

Nitschke was one of five dental assistants who were part of the 13-member New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) contingent that provided dental treatment in Samoa recently.

"I don't mind being under pressure, which is often the case when we deploy," she said. "Often it means working long days and dealing with challenging cases, but it is very rewarding.

Dental Assistant Lance Corporal Nadine Nitschke (right) with Samoan patients during Exercise Tropic Twilight. Photo / File
Dental Assistant Lance Corporal Nadine Nitschke (right) with Samoan patients during Exercise Tropic Twilight. Photo / File

"It was great to be working in a different environment, providing dental care and treatment to people who needed it."

Exercise Tropic Twilight, as the dental programme in Samoa was called, was conducted from May 8 to May 20. The NZDF contingent, in collaboration with Samoa's Ministry of Health, provided dental care and treatment through a clinic at Poutasi village on the southeast coast of the main island Upolu.

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Nitschke was born in Tauranga and grew up in Te Puke.

She enlisted in the New Zealand Army in August 2016, after being encouraged by her mother, who is a former communication centre operator in the army.

Dental Assistant Lance Corporal Nadine Nitschke (left) assists Dental Hygienist Sergeant Rene'e Mudgway in treating a patient in Samoa during Exercise Tropic Twilight. Photo / Supplied
Dental Assistant Lance Corporal Nadine Nitschke (left) assists Dental Hygienist Sergeant Rene'e Mudgway in treating a patient in Samoa during Exercise Tropic Twilight. Photo / Supplied

"In my final year in high school I could not decide what I was going to do. Fortunately my mum got me thinking about the army and dentistry," she said.

After completing basic training at Waiouru Military Camp she trained to become a dental assistant and was posted to Trentham Dental Centre in November 2016.

The NZDF has conducted similar dental care programmes in Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty, Kaitaia, Vanuatu and Samoa.

Nitschke took part in the programmes in Hawke's Bay in March this year and in Bay of Plenty last year.