Employers within the NHS were recently invited to observe reservist training taking place at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Saber Strike exercise in Poland.
During the visit, employers were able to witness first-hand how beneficial the training exercises were for the reservists and how these skills can be transferred into the NHS workforce.
Clinicians from the UK worked side by side with medics from the US army's 212 combat support hospital during the exercise, which consisted of two weeks training, involving 19 countries and 18,000 troops. Throughout the exercise, NHS reservists tackled complex training scenarios including major incidents and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.
David Cox, senior operating department practitioner at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust said:
"Prior to the visit to Poland, I was not fully aware of the range of medical specialities supplied by reservists. I now have much more awareness and a fuller understanding of what reservists can do.
“They have a broader range of experience in challenging situations, where team work and flexibility are essential. By being a reservist, it demonstrates the motivation and commitment of the individual.
“I would say to any employer with reservists as part of their workforce: your staff will be committed, motivated and have a broader range of clinical experiences in emergency care. This ultimately enables better standards of patient care within the NHS.”
Heena Asher, general manager of Stroke and Neurosciences at Imperial College healthcare NHS Trust added:
"I was overwhelmed at the size of the training exercise and the partnership with the US Army. I was amazed by the levels of respect, focus and coordination between the reservists to deliver clinical care.
“The exercise made it very clear that reservists shine as leaders, inspire their colleagues and are focused on getting things right the first time.
“As a trust, we need to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to support reservists so that we attract these people with such expert qualities to work in our organisation."