Southmead Hospital nurse shares her experience as an Armed Forces reservist

Friday, 10 November 2017

Intensive Care Unit senior nurse at North Bristol NHS Trust, Flora Robertson has discussed her experience as a reservist in the Armed Forces to encourage others to consider joining.

ICU nurse and Armed Forces reservist Flora Robertson

Flora signed up to be an Armed Forces reservist in 2008, when she was a newly qualified nurse. Flora had been part of the cadets when she was young, and joined the Officer’s Training Corps in University. When Flora heard about the opportunity to become an Armed Forces reservist, she jumped at the chance.

Flora explained: “I thought it would be a good option, allowing me to work in the NHS but also in different environments. I like the outdoors, taking part in adventure training, travelling and meeting people with similar interests. I was also interested in the deployment opportunity, as this was the time of the Afghanistan war.”

Flora is part of 243 Field Hospital, based in Keynsham. As a sergeant, Flora runs the Intensive Care Unit and oversees soldiers.

In 2012, Flora had her first deployment to Afghanistan. North Bristol NHS Trust supported this and Flora was able to take military leave, working in Afghanistan for over three months.

Flora said: “Being deployed is a rewarding experience. You are really making a difference and it’s nice to be appreciated by the general public. North Bristol NHS Trust was really supportive and allowed reserves to take time off to attend Remembrance Day.”

Flora is encouraging other medical staff to consider the Armed Forces Reserves: “If you’re prepared to dedicate the time and effort, I would recommend joining. You get so many rewards out of it, such as friendship and different ways of keeping fit.”

As an Armed Forces reservist, you have to meet a basic requirement of at least one weekend every two months. Every five years is a potential deployment year. North Bristol NHS Trust is supportive of staff who need to take time off for deployment and is formally partnered with both the Army and Royal Air Force Reserve Forces.

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