Placements prior to joining as student nurse

Hi, anyone help with this please.

Been advised after calling the QARANC recruiting information people that its a good idea to get a placement in care before attending the board. Has anyone done this recently, or know what sort of placement is acceptable - ie will doing a few weeks volunteering in the local old folks home help or do is something else required?

Also web info on QARANC is a bit vague. Been to their website which is very nice in as far as it goes, but can't seem to find info on things like deployments etc. (would be good to know as much about the job as possible before the board so as to shine). There is general deployment info on the army web site for the army as a whole but little specific so if anyone can point me in the right direction fot this sort of stuff I'd appreciate it.

Finally I know what nursing is (we have several nurses in the family) but again it would be good to know the differences between the military focus and the civillian, particuarly mental health, but any information at all would be great.

I know this is a lot for one post, but trying to be as prepared as poss for the board given the time it takes for the whole process. Any help would be fantastic.

P.S excuse the edit, wrote this very fast and just saw all the mistakes I'd made (well hopefully all of 'em)
hi franz,

might be a good idea to contact the local MDHU (Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit) near your area, there is one in northallerton - the friarage hospital, peterboro - the edith cavell hospital, birmingham - selly oak hospital, frimley - frimley park hospital, portsmouth - qa hospital and haslar hospital, plymouth - derriford hospital. try and speak to the training officer in the unit and tell them your situation. i'm sure they'd only be too happy to help. also you'd get to work alongside military nurses and hear about what experiences they have had and what happened when they went to a student nurse board.

hope it helps
Cheers gooseman.

I didn't even consider the MDHU as a place for possible placement - just assumed they didn't do that sort of thing (having no basis for that assumption by the way). I'm on the case of tracking down a number for them - hospital easy, MDHU strangely hiding from me but I'll find 'em. If they do let me do some voluntary work there thats got be about the best place for getting to know the role as anywhere.


I posted a while back asking about nursing for my brother and got some good advice, wanting to be RMP myself but have now reconsidered both because nursing was something I'd looked at doing in civillian life and because I'm paronoid about not having directly transferable skills when I leave -- 22 years time I'll be 49 and don't fancy the idea of having to totally retrain into a new career at that stage. I was really genuinely torn between the two but the civillian skills clinched it for me. That said I do have a genuine interest in nursing and mental health in particular ( perhaps too much affinity with mental health, who knows!) so hopefully I'll get to talk to someone in that field even if I don't get to volunteer there and get my other questions answered.

Cheers again.
tell me which MDHU youre after and Ill pm you a number.

Firstly you've shown inititive by actually getting in contact with people in the job and thats a good start so well done! To answer a few of your questions.

Mental Health Nursing.
Well if your mad enough (no pun intended) this is definately the job for you, you will be looking after mentally ill patients a majority of whom will be civvy you do deal with some military patients but forget trying to put together mentally shattered war tired soldiers and think more along the lines of substance misuse and depression. Alot of your peace time role will see you working in the community your war time or operational role will see you posted to a medical facility working largely autonomously (alone) or in small groups of other CPN (mental health nurses).

Just bear one thing in mind when applying for this post they are very FEW vaccancies every year, if you are confident in passing the board first time then go for it! If your young 18-22 with little or no care expierence and thinking about going for it I would give you a word of caution, you may be rejected solely due to your age. While you can have young adult nurses must peoples ideas of a mental health nurse is someone that is older. With age comes expierence some may say rightly or wrongly certainly all the CPN's i know are in the older range bracket 25+ as they are deemed to be more worldly and expierenced. Think about it how would you feel getting advice about depression or substance abuse from someone who looked relatively young and inexpierenced. Its sad I know but consider it as they may throw this one at you on your interviews.

If you want to hedge your bets and stand a fairly good chance then consider adult nursing, there are far more places available and they do take younger applicants. However you need to prove you cut it academically so you need some good g.c.s.e's and if possible A-levels behind you. You also need to prove you can be a caring and kind individual. Get yourself on placement at any hospital and stay there as long as possible to gain expierence. The more expierence the more employable you look and it will make you stand out. Nowadays most applicants have some care expierence under their belts so go with the flow and don't be one of the few that doesn't.

As for deployments pick anywhere where the Army serves and you'll find nurses and medics. Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, you name it if the army is there on ops so are we!

Whats the difference between being an Army nurse and being a civvy nurse well the clues in the title your an Army nurse which means you have a duty to perform both military and nursing duties. Despite what other people may think your a soldier first then a nurse not the other way around if your a nurse first then a solider go join the NHS! Thats why we joined up in the first place and if you have any misconception about that then you need to ask yourself why did you want to become an army nurse in the first place!

Hope this helps Franz. Good luck for the future, and remember everyone can give you advice until your blue in the face with it, its how YOU use it thats important no one can choose what to do for you and the only person that will pass that interview is you! I hope that this has given you some useful information to better allow YOU to decide the next move!

All the best for the future whatever you decide.

Sneaky Barstard

Sorry about the typos!
Cheers for that, appreciate it. Have sorted out a placement a hospital scince I made my post and am quite looking forward to it.
As for being 18-22, oh how I wish that were still the case, there wouldn't be so many bloody stupid decisions made this time around. But sadly no, I've reached the grand old age of 27 and though I have some qualifications - all the way to postgrad (don't believe the hype) non even close to being medical or health related, so this is all pretty new to me.
I hear what your saying with the soldier first bit and can't wait for it (god help me I'm even looking forward to phase one), I genuinely want to do both, nursing with some real challenge thrown in. Plus selfish as this may be, I like the idea of being able to walk out when the Army's had enough of me and continue straight on with the nursing career.

If only I could get there a bit quicker frankley. Put my application in April and the next intake for me will be Feb apparently. All good things... I suppose.

Actually whilst I'm here if anybody's got any good ideas for what I could spend my time doing in preparation till then that would be great (ie anything useful beyond getting fit - I've got that one) I was thinking maybe doing some basic Arabic , though any better suggestions appreciated.

Cheers again

(BTW before you say it, I relied very heavily on spell checkers at uni, maybe thats an idea for my waiting time)
Just try and enjoy your time left in civvy street!

As for the Arabic course might be nice to know but probably a little to OTT. If you feel you want to then go and do it but why spend time learning a langauage thats bloody difficult to master if you won't be able to use it. Remember you will be a student for 3 years and then will have another year before your are able to be deployed so 4 years of very little practice, unless you get some arabic patients which around Birmingham is a definate possibility!

I would suggest working on your fitness, not because your going to get "beasted" during your phase 1 training but because it will help you in not picking up stupid injuries that could see you getting back squadded. Not nice for you and it could effect your starting date for nurse training if its bad - If its really bad you could end up getting discharged!

As your slighlty older it wouldn't be a bad thing either - Its not a critiscim but you won't have the whole youth thing on your side and when you get to the grand old ages of 25 and above our bodies find it harder to repair themselves. Give yourself that fighting edge and get yourself into a comfortable fitness zone! Plus it will make you stand out when you start beating 18 to 22 year olds on runs and in the gym!!!!!

Concentrate on passing your boards getting yourself fit and enjoy the last 6 months of civvy street! As it stands new entry's now have to do 4 years return of service compared to 3 years as its stands at the moment so short of getting pregnant or getting thrown out of the army for other reasons you will be 35 by the time you can leave the army so enjoy the next 6 months!!!!!!! Just don't be silly have a good time but stay legal dont do what some have tried and smoke crap 2 weeks before starting the basic then failing a drugs test! And you will be drugs tested at some point in your basic!!

All the best and good luck any other problems then post them here or PM me.

All the best
The Arabic thing might be a bit ott but it had actually occured to me of its usefulness in Birmingham given the cultural mix. Never hurts to have an extra skill (god, i'm looking for promotion already) Anyhow think how good I'd be after 4 years before I put into use somewhere hot and sandy.

Fortunately drugs never had much appeal for me, and I'm too tight to pay for em anyway. Pregnancy though, now that is interesting, could probably solve all my financial issues when I sell my story to the papers, as the first pregnant man in the Army.

Right I'm off make the most of my civi life and store up all the sleep in I'll be missing in training.

Oops! (Have removed foot from mouth!)

Know what you mean! I have been trying to get pregnant for the last year and haven't been successful. Am seriously considering getting the Army to pay for my sex change op and then a few bouts of IVF just for good measure!! Its all about Equal Ops nowadays!

All the best for the next 6 months and enjoy yourself, with the Arabic thing do it you want to it will certainly keep you busy however you will not spend all your time in Birmingham on placement you'll get moved around the country to most of the MDHU Hospitals. This is primarily
1) To expose you to a "real" Army environment after being a civvy for to long in Birmingham. (Yes even after starting your training!)
2) Portsmouth Uni is now shut and they now have all the MDHU where they can send students too without having to compete for spaces.
3) Just becasue they can!

Training in Birmingham is very relaxed, if your after the whole Army thing forget it, you will be a little disappointed when you first arrive as you'll be fresh out of phase one and to coin a phrase "Born Again Hard" Sadly you won't get much military training up in Birmingham and all to often people tend to go off the rails with taking the whole student thing a little too far yes enjoy yourself but remember you are Army and people will be watching!!!! Mess up there and people will remember you for a long time! As invariably they rotate back to the units in important positions like your CO (Commanding Officer) OC (Officer Commanding) Ward I/c (Senior person on your ward.) RSM (Supposedly a scary person that shouts alot and puts the fear of god into people but not in the QARANCS, still don't want to be P*ssing him/her off!) You get picture?

All the best and good luck any other questions then post away or PM me.


Wow, there is some excellent information here!!

Sorry to dig up such an old post, but its quite relevant to me at the moment. I'm looking at sitting the nursing board next month, and its all happened rather quickly, so I'm feeling less prepared than I would like to. I'm just wondering what is actually involved on the 2 day panel - I know there are interviews, but is there anything else that might catch me by surprise?

in my experience, the best Military nurses are often seen parading in PVC/rubber "Nursey" uniforms, with black stockings and stiletto heels (boots or shoes, doesn't matter).

If you want to have an "attachment" here, I could sort it for you?

Always glad to help out.


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