It’s been a few months since my last post – and a lot has happened!
I’m just back from two weeks at RAF Halton (where I did my basic training) to do my Junior Management and Leadership Course (JMLC). It was a very busy two weeks, with lots of running around outside and ‘command tasks’. These are group exercises where one person takes the lead to practice their leadership and control. It was hard work, but useful and improved everyone’s communication and leadership skills. We also had to create and deliver a presentation about leadership to a group. Thankfully, I do this type of thing quite often as part of my normal job, so I found this part of the course easier and my presentation went well. It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking though, to stand up in front of people! But we all passed, and it was great to meet a big mix of different RAF personnel!
As you all know, it’s The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ centenary this year, and I was lucky enough to be involved in the Charity’s event at the Imperial War Museum in June. There were five military nurses from Portsmouth who supported this event – a mix of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. We did some ‘meeting and greeting’ at the front door, spoke with visitors and helped with showing people to their seats. We also took a lot of photos – mostly of the old aircraft hanging from the ceiling in the main room! It was an absolutely amazing setting, with some really interesting people – including my namesake Princess Alexandra, some great food and fascinating conversation. There was also a Marines band there, who were amazing – they performed the ‘Beating Retreat’. The drums were so loud, the noise went through the whole building and we all really enjoyed it.
I spoke in my last post about doing some shifts on the Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU). I’ve since moved to that ward and am really enjoying it. Most of my patients are acutely unwell and need surgery quickly. So my role is about keeping them stable until their surgery can go ahead. This can be quite challenging, but I have started settling in and find I enjoy it greatly – I think I’ll stay in this area of nursing if I can. I’ve now finished my first year of being a nurse and completed my competencies – after which point I can be deployed or go on exercise whenever needed. So there might be some more travelling and excitement in the near future.
Last year, my Army friend Stevie-Lee and I completed a Mental Health First Aid for the Armed Forces course. This is a civilian course that the Ministry of Defence are keen to promote. We gained the qualifications to become instructors of this two-day course. Since then, we have provided this training to many personnel within our unit in Portsmouth and are now going to other military establishments to get the training out to as many people as possible.
I really enjoy providing this training and we’ve had really positive feedback about the content and about our facilitation of it.
Take care and I’ll hopefully see you all soon,