From the Military to the NHS

Why Service Leavers Continue to Serve Through the NHS

We spoke to Phil Harrison – Project Lead at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – about his transition into a rewarding career in Healthcare…

Please tell us about us about your military career – how many years you served, rank you left at and any career highlights.

I joined in 1981 as Pte Soldier and was commissioned into Royal Army Medical Corps from RMAS in 1990. From then I commanded at Troop, Squadron and Regimental levels on operations and was operational commander for the military response to the Manchester bombing in 2017.

How did you know it was time to leave the military and start work as a civilian?

With over 35 years of service recorded and being in my final post, I felt that the Army had offered as much as it could for me in terms of challenge. I was commander of the Army region of my birth and there was nothing I could possibly have done which would have improved on that. Importantly, I was beginning to feel that I had ‘grown out’ of the Army and it was time to step aside.

Tell us about your civilian role – how you secured your new career and what you really do.

My civilian role was secured as a direct result of the impression I made on my employers whilst in service. I now focus on areas of clinical quality improvement and am engaged across the whole University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Why is the NHS so appealing to service leavers, veterans, reservists and spouses of all services and ranks?

The NHS is a vast organisation. It offers so much in terms of non-clinical jobs and desperately needs the type of qualities which exist in service leavers.

Any top tips when applying for NHS roles – either within your personal statement or at interview?

I think that the desire to serve runs through service leavers and being able to continue such service in a different capacity is a very strong message. Many in the NHS exercise the same selfless commitment which is one of the Army’s values, but they don’t recognise it in themselves due to the nature of the organisations being different. But it is there and putting the patient first is what makes the NHS the success that it is. Demonstrating that above all else the patient comes first is a very good start to any conversation about future employment.

Why are UHB running the insight event on the 16th of June? Why should you attend?

UHB last ran an event like this in Sep 2019. We have delayed the one we had scheduled for last year due to the current situation. We decided to move to a virtual platform to advertise the opportunities available at UHB and the types of role available across the country. We will offer the same first-hand insights and advice, the same workshops and guidance and the same chance to chat with people who are working in the sector you think may suit you best.

Following up the event, I will also be offering the one-to-one advice and mentoring in the same way that I did in person following the session in 2019. This is a free service which will give advice and guidance on the various jobs available across the NHS.

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