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Armed Forces Week, veteran spotlight: Liz Coles

How long have you worked for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) and what is your day to day civilian role?

I am an Occupational Health Nurse Specialist and I joined MTW on the permanent Occupational Health Staff in September 2022. I am no longer permanent but continue to support Occupational Health as a staff bank nurse specialist.

How long did you serve in the military and in what capacity and what motivated you to join MTW?

I served in the Army Reserve (was Territorial Army) for 31 years as a Nursing Officer in the Army Medical Services. I joined MTW to return to Occupational Health work after several years of working in Quality Governance. I was keen to return to a clinical role.

What would you say the highlights are of having been employed in the military?

I was very lucky to have a long and successful career in the Army Reserve. Training together with colleagues in sometimes challenging conditions was great for making lifelong friends and developing my leadership skills. My highlights were the operational tours when I deployed as a nurse in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. In my final post in the Army Reserve I was also a Queen’s Honorary Nurse which included duties in the Royal Palaces.

What skills did you gain from being in the military that you’ve been able to bring over to your role in the NHS?

Many skills including leadership, problem solving, planning and working as a team.

Why would you encourage veterans to join MTW?

The Trust has its people at its heart and values staff who enjoy working in teams and doing their best at work.

Do you feel supported as an veteran in the Trust?

It’s appreciated that veterans can bring with them a wealth of knowledge and skills experience gained outside the NHS.