This week was special moment in my career so far for very personal reasons. In 1986, the year I qualified as a nurse I wrote to the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps in the long-shot chance that they would accept me as a nurse. I knew really that someone with Type 1 diabetes probably couldn’t join up but I asked anyway – it was what I wanted to do. They of course said ‘No’. I would have been privileged if they had accepted me.
So, bearing this in mind, I was delighted that Col. Pete Childerley the current Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Matron-in-Chief (Army) invited me to give the 2012 Glover Memorial lecture at their annual dinner. I had been nominated by one of the Corps, Lt Col Jacky Phillips-Harvey who had attended one of my Leadership for Informed Practice Programmes.
The Glover memorial lecture is given in memory of Lt Col Gill Glover who was a nurse with a passion for exceptional training for combat medical technicians. She served 22 years as a territorial member of the armed forces and 7 years on the committee of the QARANC Association. She was fondly remembered on the evening by some of her colleagues.
The QARANC is a fabulous organisation who have a history going back to 1854 and it was with that in mind that I started my lecture with a focus on communication, the past and a reflection of the challenges faced by Florence Nightingale at Scutari. But the focus of my lecture was the use of social media in health today.
You can read more about QARANC here: http://www.qaranc.co.uk/
The chance to be a nurse in this environment is I’m sure a challenge but also a great experience. Of course not all of the work is in the front-line. Soldiers and their families need healthcare just like people in civilian life and there are many opportunities in the role. They work in front line field hospitals but also alongside civilian nurses in NHS settings. There are fantastic opportunities and if you are interested look here: http://www.qaranc.co.uk/becomeanarmynurse.php
The notes I used for the lecture can be seen here – Good evening ladies and gentleman I didn’t read it word for word, as it turns out, but used it as a structure. I hope they enjoyed hearing my thoughts.
The evening included the very special experience of a formal mess dinner and the honoured guest was HRH The Countess of Wessex who was delightful and I even had the chance to show her my insulin pump! She was very interested :0)