Complementing careers - a reservist nursing journey

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29 / 3 / 2016 11am

Rebecca is a sergeant in the Queen Alexandra Royal Nursing Corps Army Reserve and a ward manager at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries - part of The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In this blog Rebecca talks about her nursing experiences in the NHS and military.

I joined the Army Medical Reserves in 2006 with a view to develop my clinical experience and knowledge. Since then, I've found that rather than learning a completely new and different set of skills, my roles in the NHS and the Army have complemented one another, resulting in the development of my career and professional skills.

My journey

The first improvement I noticed after joining as a reservist was my level of fitness. I found this, along with being able to frequently face new challenges, to be very rewarding. The Army focused on developing leadership and teamwork skills, and made me a determined medical professional.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has valued the wealth of transferable skills that reservists gain. From day one, the trust has given me the opportunity to share this knowledge with my colleagues. While I was deployed in Afghanistan, my team in the UK kept me in-the-loop with near daily correspondence. The support available from the ward sisters reassured me that the service for patients would continue uninterrupted .

Since returning from Afghanistan I became a more confident nurse. This was noted by my line managers, and I won an award for outstanding contribution to nursing care - as part of the Nurses' Day at my trust. I have also been awarded recognition in the clinical leadership category at the National Patient Safety Congress.

It is clear to me and my trust , that my experiences as part of the Army Medical Reserves have influenced the standard of patient care in my ward. The Army has taught me to always strive, and to go above and beyond the requirements of my job description, which I believe is a core reason for my work being recognised inside and outside of my trust. 

Now, as a ward manager for a spinal unit, which has 44 beds and over 100 members of staff, I have been able to put into practice my Army clinical experience. Working in a high-pressure acute setting gave me the opportunity to lead others and develop new and efficient ways of working.

I have been able to succeed throughout my NHS and Army Medical Reserves careers as a result of my trust's encouragement and support with the unit. I look forward to continuing my professional development with both The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps Army Reserve.

If you would like to discover more about how NHS Employers can support your journey as either a reservist or reservist employer then please visit our webpages

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