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Capt Hildred - Blog 1

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I've been here for almost two weeks now, and I've only heard the phone ring twice.

That may have something to do with the fact that there is a total of 53 nurses in the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps (RNZNC), 43 of these are Regular, 10 are reservists. There are no Healthcare Assistants. The Regular Force breakdown is roughly 11 in ED, 4 in ITU, 5 in Theatres, 4 in PACU, 2 in Primary Healthcare, 2 preceptors and 10 in the ‘other’ category. About 18 months ago all the Defence Health New Zealand became Tri-Service, even prior to this, nurses were only employed within the Army, fulfilling all Navy and RAF nursing capabilities. 

Although an all officer Corps, these individuals are not just civilian nurses with officer rank slides. So far I’ve been hugely impressed with the leadership and professionalism within the RNZNC, especially in my OC (OC Role 2) who I’m hoping to learn a lot from in the next 3 months. Equally the Lieutenants and Captains show an impressive level of self-motivation and commitment to the Corps, particularly inspiring in a less structured work environment.

Daily Routine

Every day at…wait for it…..0615, 0655, 0755, 1200, 1700, 1725, 2130, 2200, 2215 and 2230 a bugle plays across the whole tannoy system of Linton Army Camp, including in the accommodation. I haven’t quite worked out what each one means yet but some of them last up to 40 secs. If you’re outside the building when the 1700 bugle plays you need to stop and salute the mast (which I can never seem to see). Another interesting part of their daily routine is Smoko. Smoko takes place at 1000 to 1030 everyday on. The. Dot. Not a minute either side. Work stops. Everyone sits around a meeting table with their mid-morning snacks and the team quiz begins. 1031 everyone is back at their desks working away like nothing ever happened.  Physical Training is a very structured part of their daily routine. Its PTI led Mon, Tues, Thurs and Friday with all personnel expected to attend, and self-led on Wednesday afternoons. Because of this, these guys are extremely physically fit.

New Things

As a vegan (which is not going so well in NZ) I see myself as bit of fruit and vegetable connoisseur. But there’s this one fruit that’s been hiding away that I recommend you all try, its called a Feijoa (see picture). I cant quite explain the taste in words, just best you try it one day. Also, I’ve learnt a few new words out here, twink = typex, jandles = flip flops, lolly = any sweet (not on a stick).

The weekends are free time so I’ll be traveling around the country as much as possible, last weekend myself and couple of other “Longlookers” decided to visit Wellington. The landscapes are beautiful, mountain ranges mixed with city-scapes are not something you see too often. Another highlight was the Te Papa Museum – particularly the Gallipoli exhibition, the large-scale models created by the Weta Workshops (which produced most of the special effects and props for Lord of the Rings) really bring the exhibition to life, creating a truly moving and impactful experience.

Current Military Activity

We are due to go on Ex Starlight Poseidon this Thursday which will take place on HMNZS Canterbury for approx. 8 days.  I’ve never been on the British Role 2 Afloat so it will be an entirely new experience for me. In preparation for the Ex, last Friday saw a visit to RNZAF base Ohakea for stretcher training on the NH90 helicopter (see pictures). Concurrently the unit has been on 48hrs notice to move to assist with the damage Cyclone Donna has caused passing through Vanuatu and New Caledonia, if they go it is likely I will go to. Fingers crossed.


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A Career in Army Nursing


The QARANC employs Officers and Soldiers in both the Regular and Reserve Army, as Registered Nurses, Student Nurses, and Health Care Assistants, and we are always looking for people. If you are interested in a career as a Nurse or Health Care Assistant which also offers other great opportunities then you are just the person we are looking for. A career in the QARANC is more than a job, you will have access to extensive training and development opportunities, not just related to your job, but personal development too. You will have the opportunity to use your skills in diverse settings – wherever the Army is employed health care professionals from the QARANC are there. Right now there are QARANC personnel working around the world, including Sierra Leone, Canada, Mali, Afghanistan, Germany, and Cyprus. Being in the QARANC you will have access to, and be expected to undertake adventurous training, and you will have access to free medical and dental care, as well as robust annual leave and pension package. For information contact a member of the QARANC recruiting team on: 01276 412741, 01276 412742 or 01276 412740 or visit

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