Have you ever thought about a job in the healthcare sector? There are a huge range of opportunities from administrative and management roles to frontline surgeons, nurses, therapists, doctors, laboratory technicians and domestic support.

If you’re passionate about helping people at their most vulnerable and making a difference, working in healthcare can be a rewarding career choice.

As member of the forces family, you have skills that are not only transferable, but are also highly sought after. You’re resilient, adaptable and flexible; you probably have great communication and problem-solving skills and know all about being a team player.

What are the advantages?

  • It’s mobile – there are healthcare facilities across the country so you may be able to transfer on posting.
  • In many roles, there is plenty of opportunity for you to work flexible shifts, day or night, to balance your career with the challenges of being a military family.
  • Roles are available at every educational level, and you can find apprenticeships, retraining and return-to-work programmes.

What are the challenges?

  • You’ll need to factor in whether you can complete a training course within the length of your posting, and have a contingency in case things change!
  • You may need to undertake work placements at unusual hours, such as night shifts. If you need childcare this can be costly, and at the moment, it’s not covered by the MOD Wraparound Childcare scheme.
  • If there are no vacancies at your grade in your new location, UK or overseas, you may end up taking a lower paid role.
  • If you’re posted overseas, bear in mind that you may have to come back to the UK occasionally at your own expense to keep up your professional development.

Getting you ready

Step into Health offers support to members of the armed forces community to access employment with its pledged NHS organisations across England and Wales. It applies to partners and working age children too, even if you’re separated or have experienced bereavement. Programme Lead Voirrey Walsh says: “Critical thinking, logistics planning, time management; all skills the NHS recognises you have, and they need in their workforce! With more than 350 roles available, the majority non-clinical, there is likely to be something to suit you – registering with Step into Health could be the first stage in your NHS journey. Our candidate system allows members of the armed forces community to connect with people in NHS organisations who can discuss employment opportunities or how to access insight days to learn more.”

Views from the clinical coalface

Laura Grace

We meet military spouses who are finding their happy in the healthcare sector…

Laura Grace, Cardiac specialist nurse

“I trained as a nurse in London in 2014 and since then I’ve never stopped developing my skills and knowledge. I’ve been a nurse through my time as a forces family member. I find my career very fulfilling, yet physically and mentally challenging. Within nursing there are a variety of roles that have different working hours, we have utilised this perk to always complement my husband’s shifts in the military, allowing us to make the most of our family time. There is always a great demand for nurses in the sector which has been a great help when relocating, I’ve never struggled to find my feet in a fantastic role in healthcare.”

Maxine Fitzpatrick, CBT therapist (former paediatric nurse, health visitor and Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services clinician)

Maxine Fitzpatrick

“I was given the opportunity to study for a postgraduate diploma in Evidence Based Psychological Therapy. I was aware this would be a huge challenge, as my husband was in Iraq at the time, and we were midway through the pandemic. But it was a unique opportunity to attend the course virtually, with online lectures and remote supervision, so I could juggle family life with academic work and practical placement. I can now work remotely and hope to become self-employed, which would provide me with further stability and independence. I’ve been able to develop my skills in an area I’m passionate about and keep supporting my husband and young children with whatever challenge the army presents us next.”

Rachael Neale, Training to be a social worker

“I started my social work journey with an access course in social science and was then accepted into university close to where my husband’s next posting was, this was for four years. Well, so we thought. I’m now in my final year of my degree, married unaccompanied because things never go quite to plan.

Rachael Neale

“It’s been a bumpy road with finding and paying for childcare, after all, we work for free on placement.

“During my first placement I worked within the Early Help team, it was such an eye-opener and highlighted the abundance of job roles available on completion of my degree within different agencies and teams, not just social work.

“Wherever I am in the country, I’m sure there will be a job to suit and being able to work from home on occasion also helps with deployments and childcare.”

Kate Rennie, Undergoing return to practice training

“Having previously studied to be a nurse before children, I decided to return to education in 2021 to study BSc Adult Nursing at the University of Hull.

Kate Rennie

“This is a three-year full-time course. The time felt right as my children are teenagers and I don’t need to rely on childcare when my husband is deployed.

“I’m now in my second year and all is going well. The most challenging thing is the uncertainty of whether I’ll be able to finish my course here, will I need to move due to postings or will I have to move into private rented accommodation? I feel that it will all be worth it once I’m qualified.

“If I have any advice for other spouses, it would be to simply go for it!

“Getting back into education is exciting, scary and fun all rolled into one!”


For more information on Step into Health, visit militarystepintohealth.nhs.uk or email stepintohealth@nhsemployers.org


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