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Association Events


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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

The Highland Fling is a 53 mile trail race which takes place each April. The route follows part of the West Highland Way, Scotland’s oldest official long distance footpath, from Milngavie to Tyndrum, and passes through the stunning scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Whilst the event is open to 1000 ultramarathon runners, a ballot is also held to select 50 teams to enter the event as a 4 person relay team.   Possibly inspired by the drinks, massages and ceilidh offered at the end of the race, two teams from 205 Field hospital entered the ballot. While one team failed to be selected, our team ‘Blood, Sweat and Beers’ successfully gained a place.

Our team consisted of Lt Col Nicola McCullough , Maj Narelle Gregor, SSgt Stu Low and Pte Abbey Harris, all from Edinburgh Detachment. Each team member wanted to train to an optimum level and achieve their own personal fitness goal. As a team we also wanted to promote a sense of esprit de corps and to raise the profile of 205 Field Hospital and the wider Army Medical Services.

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.

Florence Nightingale Shore was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire on 10th January 18651,2,3. Florence Nightingale was one of her Godparents4. She was brought up in Mickleover, Derbyshire2. In 1891 she travelled to China to work as a nursery nurse4. In 1893 she returned to the UK and started her nurse training at The Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, Scotland (aged 28)2, 5. In 1897 she completed her midwifery training at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin6. Towards the end of 1897 she enrolled at the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute for Nurses in London and became a Queen’s Nurse7. She completed district nurse training later working in Reading and Sunderland.

She joined the Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service (Reserve) on May 18th 19008, and served with the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, South Africa during the Boer War9, 10, then returned to district nursing in Sunderland.


26 Oct 2016, Raffaelli Theatre, DMS Whittington

The Defence Stammering Network (DSN) and British Stammering Association (BSA) visited DMS Whittington on the 26 October 2016 to deliver a presentation that was to enhance our own awareness of stammering, and the roles of the Network and Association. The presentation began with an introduction from the Naval Equality and Diversity Officer Lt Cmdr Lawton-Roberts. This was followed by a formal welcome speech from Surgeon General Chief of Staff Captain Hill RN, who openly supported the Defence Stammering Network and commended the work of the newly formed group to support serving military and Ministry of Defence personnel.

Vera Vaughan is a very special member of the Welsh Branch, who is well on her way to receiving her second telegram from the Queen, sent on the 105th birthday and every subsequent birthday.

Vera was born in Llandrindod Wells, one of six children, and was educated at the local County School. On leaving school she was determined to move to London. She became a nurse at King’s College Hospital during the 1930s, after which she moved to Buxton, Derbyshire, where she worked in a clinic for rheumatic disorders. When the Second World War was declared, Vera moved home to Llandrindod Wells and was employed by the Civil Nursing Reserve. In 1941 she enlisted in the QAIMNS and served in Palestine, Egypt, Tripoli and Italy. In Italy she visited Rome and was blessed by the Pope, Pope Pius X11. At the end of the war Vera returned to Llandrindod Wells where she opened a drapery shop with her sisters.

Monday, 01 May 2017 18:28

Christmas Lunch 2016

On Saturday 10 December 2016, Chester Branch members, old and new, came together at The Queens Hotel, in Chester for Christmas lunch. Prior to lunch we remembered those members no longer with us. We also had the customary raffle, with some lovely prizes including a picture of penguins painted by our own artist, Liz Ashworth.

There was plenty of conversation and laughter as old friends came together, and new members were made welcome.

Monday, 01 May 2017 18:22

Newcastle Update

Greetings from Newcastle Branch. We have had a mixed year with a variety of events and meetings, which were enjoyed by all who attended. Our secretary, Ron Bell, changed jobs mid-year and sadly had to give up his post; it has taken until November to persuade Jacqui Hall and Fiona Mitford to share the position. We are working on updating our membership information and our page on the QA Association website. If we are missing anyone who believes they are on our books, please get in touch.

"Chairman Shirley Laverick-Stovin, OCN of 201 Field Hospital (201FH), along with Cath Waller and Bill Toy, enjoyed the poignant Turning of the Pages lead by DMG (N) at Castle Howard. Private Elwood, a Student Nurse with 201FH, also attended."

2016 ended with our ever-popular Christmas event at Newcastle Airport’s Britannia Hotel. We had our best attendance for a few years, and everyone had a great time.

We started 2017 with an outstanding first meeting on 7 January at Fenham Barracks – home of 201FH, which included a raffle and a brilliant Bring and Buy sale. There was a lively discussion about ideas for trips and events for the coming year. We took the opportunity of the excellent QA turnout to have a photo. One of our members, former Matron at 201, Brenda Houlison, who unfortunately was unable to attend the meeting, hit the magical age of eighty and was wished well by the Branch with some lovely flowers.


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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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