Recite Me

The NHS is a great career choice for Armed Forces veterans seeking a new role.

According to recent data published by NHS England, “each year at least 12,000 military personnel leave their roles in the Armed Forces for a variety of reasons, with many of them looking to switch career after completing their service.

“Their transferable skills, including leadership, resilience and compassion, leave them with much to offer the NHS, and many already meet the entry requirements to undertake a suitable training programme.”

In 2023, NCH&C signed the Armed Forces Covenant and was awarded the Bronze Veteran Aware Employer Recognition Scheme Award. We recognise that understanding the unique circumstances of veterans allows us to provide the best possible support for our veteran colleagues and patients, including those who are part of armed forces families.

As well as setting up support groups and providing easy access to helpful resources, we are recruiting our first Veteran Aware Volunteer in the next few months. Spending in time in hospital may be particularly challenging to some veterans due to their past experiences, so our Veteran Aware Volunteer can visit those patients who may need extra reassurance and companionship, with the additional perspective of understanding some of the challenges specific to veterans.

To mark Armed Forces Day (29 June 2024), we sat down with NCH&C colleague and Army veteran, Dominic Galea. As well as working as in our Service Improvement Partnership Team as a Business Intelligence Manager, Dominic also holds a voluntary role at NCH&C as the trust’s incoming Veteran Awareness Lead.

Here’s Dom’s take on how his military experience helped created valuable transferrable skills for the next step in his career…

Can you briefly explain your role?

As Business Intelligence Manager, I help NCH&C’s management and clinical teams understand and use information and data to make improvements for our colleagues and patients.

How long did you serve in the Armed Forces?

Dom wearing his military uniform.I spent 23 years in uniform and left as a Warrant Officer class 2 in the Royal Army Medical Corps, doing everything from being a Combat Medical Technician (From Company Medic to part of the 3 Division’s Med team), via Civil-Military cooperation, and finishing as the military system operations lead for the Ministry of Defence’s electronic patient record system.

What made you choose a career in the NHS?

I wanted to continue to use my skills and knowledge healthcare but explore new things.

Are there any transferable skills or knowledge from the Armed Forces that have benefitted your NHS career?

Moving from one large institution to another makes things easier to understand; managing the dynamics and pressures of the interactions between often very different teams and services is something everyone in the military is used to! The amount of formal management and leadership training, as well as opportunities to put it in to practice (often in positions that you have ‘stepped up’ into) has been key to navigating the complexities of the NHS as well as being comfortable with working with both senior figures (don’t underestimate how unusual this is!) across the system but also frontline staff. The planning, presentation and staff writing skills the military gave me have made my current job much easier has enabled me to deliver high quality products from the start.

How did you find the transition from the Armed Forces to the NHS?

I was lucky and was offered a role while still servicing and took an accelerated leave process with the support of my commanding officer and NCH&C – it meant that I did a month of dual working for both.

Do you have any words of advice for veterans considering a career in the NHS?

Reach out to those who have left and are working in areas that you are interested in to hear about their experiences and routes into the NHS. The Step into Health scheme is also good for making contact for placements and understanding what each NHS trust does!

Be ready for a different focus and approach to both management and hierarchy, and the very different pace of work but also the much less competitive atmosphere!

How does NCH&C compare to any other employer you may have worked at?

NCH&C is very supportive and flexible both in terms of how I approach my day-to-day work, but also providing the flexibility to work from home and other trust sites when I need to.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Although my route into the NHS was quite straightforward because of my medical experience in the Army, the Armed Forces can offer far more than just clinical staff to the NHS. Everyone from Clerks to Infantry has something to offer, and I am passionate about bringing the skills that the professional healthcare managers such as Medical Support Officers and Combat Medical Technicians can bring to the NHS.

To find out more about choosing an NHS career after leaving the Armed Forces, visit the Step Into Health website.