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27 September 2017

BRI staff take part in the South West NHS Military Challenge

1Every year, volunteers from NHS Hospitals across the South West take part in the South West NHS Military Challenge. 

On Friday 8 September, the team of 12 health professionals from Bristol Royal Infirmary set off to Okehampton to embark on a weekend comprising of military challenges. The all-female team comprised of 6 Registered Nurses, 4 Student nurses and 2 Nursing Assistants. 

The challenges are designed to give partakers an idea of what medical military personnel face on a daily basis.  These ranged from rescuing casualties under fire, assault course, preparing a casualty for air rescue, simulated rifle range and planning a rescue mission.

The event aims at promoting an understanding of what the Army Medical Services do and how NHS Trusts can support this and to recruit NHS health professionals to join the Army Medical Reserve Service throughout the South West. They form the only Army Reserve medical unit and deploy all around the world. They are always looking for new recruits, especially from the ED and ITU specialities.

Our team members all thoroughly enjoyed their experiences over the course of the weekend and gave them a great opportunity to build on their communication and teamwork skills. Some of the team members left their comments: 

"Though it was incredibly difficult both physically and mentally, having a great team around me helped me through each challenge. Thank you so much Liz for getting us all together for it. It was so good to see other Trusts represented there and to get an insight into the medical side of the Army". Hasina Ghani Student Nurse UWE

"An honour to have been alongside people who I didn't know and now feel so close to.  Each one had the strength to encourage the best in ourselves.  I will always keep the memories we have made close to my heart.  Proud to have been part of such an exhausting yet exhilarating experience that gave me an insight and respect for everyone who took part.  Gratitude to the military personnel for giving us the opportunity to have such a fantastic experience. Thank you Liz for putting us all together and having our backs".  Jane Byrom Nursing Assistant C705 Bristol Heart Institute

"It was a physical and mental challenge.  Getting an insight into what happens in the military and the role you could play if you joined the reserves.  I have met some amazing people and have got to know and depend on them over the weekend and getting to know your own strengths and weaknesses.  It has been a privilege and an honour representing the Trust.  But I also loved the blood, sweat, tears and fun moments. It is an experience I will never forget and loved everyone's 'can do', 'let's do' attitude".  Rachel Allan Ward Manager C705 Bristol Heart Institute

"To be taken out of your comfort zone and be able to experience the military not only allowed an appreciation for the forces but for our colleagues alike.  We have learnt so much about ourselves and each other.  The competitive challenges allowed us to cement our team spirit all whilst having fun!".  Eileen Bowden Student Nurse UWE

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"It was a marvellous experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to more fun and joining the team in the near future"Marvellous Onyenekwu Student Nurse UWE

"I found arriving at the base very exciting and from that moment on was treated very well.  I was always kept informed of what was expected to happen and any changes to the schedule.  The Army Reserves treated me and my colleagues with respect and dignity.  Their encouragement was well received and welcomed.  The training staff showed us what was needed and expected and we all remained enthusiastic throughout the challenges.  Although we did not win, we all came away feeling that we had accomplished a great deal and we all had a fantastic time.  It was a great learning experience.  All of us felt like we would like to return next year".  Carol Martinson Nursing Assistant C705 Bristol Heart Institute

NHS Military Challenge 2018 is already being planned for next year and the team would like to put another team or even teams together to take part in this amazing event and represent UH Bristol.  If anyone would be interested please contact Liz Harvey at C705 Bristol Heart Institute, (ex 26651).  All disciplines of staff who work for the trust are welcome.  If anyone is interested in joining the Army Medical Reserve Services at 243 Wessex Field Hospital, please contact