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Prior thoughts…

Hello, my name is Alexandra Doyle and I have undertaken work experience with and then worked as a member of the Banking Team at The Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond since 2006 (when I was 16). I am also Pauline Shaw’s (Director of Care) daughter and, Daphne Conway’s (resident at the Richmond home) Granddaughter!


Over 1 year ago, I began applying to the RAF to undertake their Nursing Degree course. I was first drawn to becoming a nurse after speaking with my Mother and seeing the excellent work done at the Home and in other medical situations. The military aspect was first introduced to me when spending time with the lovely, inspirational residents at The Royal Star & Garter Home during my work, and work experience stints at the Home over the years.


It’s been a long application process, with interviews, a presentation to give and not to mention the fitness tests, but I was delighted to be offered one of only 12 places the RAF allocate each year for new nursing recruits. This will involve an 11 week intensive basic training, beginning on the 22nd June followed by a 3 year degree course at Birmingham City University, beginning in September.


I am writing this on Sunday evening, 3 days before I leave for my basic training; I’m wearing my military issue boots to try and get them comfy (not the easiest of jobs) after having been for a 5km run this morning.


Basic training will include daily, intensive fitness sessions, marching, inspections, team building and training exercises to prepare all recruits for any situation they may encounter. It is, I have been told, extremely demanding, mentally and physically and therefore I am (understandably) feeling rather nervous. I am looking forward to being there, so that it doesn’t seem so alien and overwhelming. I have spoken to another new recruit student nurse who will hopefully be in the same room as me, as she was lovely and we hope we can support each other through the weeks ahead.


The kit list was extensive, and we have bought everything listed, including a large supply of plasters for the inevitable foot blisters, plus a couple of extra luxuries (e.g. a lovely smelly foot cream – I’m expecting it’ll be used up very quickly).


I hope to update this page around once a week with news about how everything is going and I’d really appreciate any helpful hints and tips that you can give to me or support you can give to the Royal Star & Garter Homes which incidentally, I will be promoting all through my training and look forward to coming back to when I’m home.


Wish me luck!


Best wishes,