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The Chief Nursing Officer (Army) Colonel Karen Irvine QHN L/QARANC held her 2 day symposium over the 4-5 May 2017, in the fabulous grounds of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

With a full and comprehensive programme of events and presentations the Churchill theatre was packed with QARANC personnel, from HCA's, ECT's, Registered personnel from all over the UK eager to learn and network in a relaxed atmosphere.

It has been a fantastic event with presentations from numerous areas of work from Veterans care to Occupational health, each presenter offering something more about their role and experiences within Nursing in Defence.  Lots of exciting opportunities coming up and lots of important changes to the NMC codes and how nurses are trained.

An excellent event

After a long and tedious journey myself (Pte Woods) and Cpl Louise Arthur finally arrived in Nairobi, Kenya. Before we had left our Unit Defence medical Group South East (DMG SE) many people had told us their experiences of Kenya so we were prepared! We arrived in Nairobi in the evening, very tired and not fully aware of our surroundings. Once morning came the heat hit us as did the surroundings and culture which we experienced on the 200km coach ride north to Nanyuki, our home for the next 6 weeks.

The reason behind our deployment to Kenya was to be research assistants at British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) carrying out the Trial Evaluating Ambulatory Treatment of Travellers’ Diarrhoea (TrEAT TD). The Doctor leading this research in Kenya was Sqn Ldr J Rimmer. This research was carried out both in the medical centre at LAB (E) Camp and in field conditions involving individuals on EXERCISE ASKARI STORM. This study involved individuals submitting 3 stool samples over the period of the exercise to be analysed and tested at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

Student Nurses based at Birmingham’s DHE have a period of time at the end of their academic studies called ‘Consolidation and Preparation’ (CAP). CAP is designed to allow Student Nurses to consolidate their learning from the previous academic year and to take part in extracurricular activities that will develop their nursing practice. Last August, during our CAP period, Pte Kirtley and I were fortunate enough to be able to take part in a medical volunteer programme in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.

Upon arrival in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo, we were instantly struck by the obvious economic instability of the country. The lack of general infrastructure was quite shocking, roads comprised of nothing more than a dirt track and it was routine to see young children without clothing begging in the streets. After a couple of nights in the capital we took a flight down to the South East. Fort Dauphin seemed a world away from the hustle and bustle of Antananarivo. The tropical seaside town of Fort Dauphin is built up around a central market where farmers walk for hours every day to sell their home grown produce for little more than a few pounds. After meeting our local Malagasy guide and packing our geriatric 4WD with enough food to feed the entire British Army, we were off to the ‘Spiny Forest’ where we would spend 10 days working within a rural medical centre.

A group of 22 personnel from DMGSE embarked on a four day tour of Normandy, France on Operation Cantina Overlord. With the objective to enhance knowledge about the D-Day landings (Operation Overlord) which took place on the 6th June 1944 and the military precision planning it involved. The first stop was Memorial de Caen. The memorial provided the students with an overall understanding of the D-Day landings and countries involved with the operation.

The second day started with a visit to Pegasus Bridge, perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in Normandy. For the British it was crucial that Pegasus Bridge was liberated to ensure the success of Operation Tonga, the codename for airborne operations takeing place over the 5 – 6 June 1944. The mission to take Pegasus Bridge was led by Major John Howard and the men of 'D' Company, 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. After looking around the Pegasus Bridge museum the students then departed to the Merville Battery.


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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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