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Military nurse in training

The Life of a Military Nurse: Corporal Alexandra Doyle

Hello all,


I decided to leave writing a new blog post until after I had moved wards as part of my newly qualified nursing rotation. I spent six months on a respiratory medical ward and I have now been on a general surgery ward for about four months. It’s a pretty big change! The patients are generally less unwell as many of the surgeries are planned, however, when someone comes in for an emergency surgery, it can get pretty hectic! But so far I am enjoying the change in working pattern and am happy to be working in a surgical environment. I have also been able to spend some time in the ‘Surgical Assessment Unit’, which is a bit faster-paced and busy – it’s been a great experience. 


Alongside those shifts I’ve also been getting a lot of clinical training time into my working week. I have been on many courses, such as: taking blood, alcohol awareness, simulation training and a number of military courses also. There’s always something going on!


Late last year I attended a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) event in London about military nursing and the challenges faced in the recent months and what will need to be focussed on in the future. It was a very useful event and I was especially interested in the solicitor who came to speak about patients who aren’t able to make decisions for themselves due to a variety of medical conditions. This is pertinent for my work in the hospital at the moment, but also possibly for patients out on the front line. It’s a difficult thing to contend with, but important to increase our knowledge and understanding.


The Remembrance Day events were widespread last year, with my unit attending many different parades and events around the country. Many of my colleagues were asked to be involved in the main parade in London, which was a real privilege. There were also many smaller events that many of us attended in the local area. However, I went to a service in a lovely little village near Sandhurst with my army colleague. There were lots of youth groups involved and it was a really moving service. Due to the location of this service – near Sandhurst, the Army officer training college, there were a number of high-ranking officers in attendance with their families. We went to this location as one of our mutual friends is currently undertaking the officer training and she had invited us to visit her. So after the Remembrance service, we had a little guided tour of the Army base. It’s set in a beautiful wood and the old buildings are really impressive. We had lunch in the mess and then went out with some of her friends for a few drinks in a lovely country pub nearby.


Another major part of military life is the physical training, and although I’m not a great fan of running, I seem to have been roped into being involved in the cross-country league that runs through the winter months. I’ve done three runs so far with hundreds of people involved. I’m afraid I’m usually in the slower third of those finishing, but I’m still there taking part and hopefully I’ll improve. I’ve also joined a local running club, which I’ve been enjoying so far. I also still attend the monthly horse-riding club and we started doing some jumps last time – so I’m looking forward to doing more of those!


I’ve had an interesting and varied start to 2016 and I’m hoping to spend some time in different medical areas (such as ITU and theatres) to figure out what kind of nurse I want to be!


I hope you are all well and enjoying the weather warming up.