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Helping the Armed Forces community ‘Step into Health’ at Sherwood Forest Hospitals

Posted onPosted on 24th Jun

An innovative scheme that supports members of the Armed Forces community into NHS careers is proving to be a success at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust.

Thanks to the Step into Health programme, which supports military service leavers and veterans in their transition to civilian employment, two people have recently secured jobs at the trust. A third was supported to gain employment at a nearby NHS organisation.

Shana McCullagh, a recruitment officer at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, has been in a Step into Health focused role since January 2024. She assists with one-to-one recruitment support – from submitting applications to preparing for interviews and supporting with recruitment checks, if successful.

Stacy Irving joined Sherwood Forest Hospitals in April as specialty general manager for Paediatrics and Community Paediatrics. This management role involves working with clinical teams to address day-to-day operational challenges, continually looking at ways to improve care for patients and planning services for the future.

Stacy served in the Royal Logistic Corps for 25 years and completed operational tours and exercises worldwide, including in Kenya, Iraq, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Germany and Cyprus.

Stacy, who retired as Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Regimental Sergeant Major, said: “Being in the Army was my life and I was dreading leaving it. I love caring for people so thought working in the NHS would be ideal.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better role to come into for my first job out of the military. The leadership skills I developed in the Army have helped massively, as I’m used to working with senior officers and people of all ranks. Everyone I’ve met so far in the Women and Children’s Division and across the Trust has been so supportive, which is exactly what I needed.

“When I applied for this role, Shana approached me as I’d ticked a box on the application to say I was ex-Armed Forces. I hadn’t had a job interview for 25 years but Shana provided useful information about the Trust and the kind of interview questions to expect for a role at this level.”

Christopher Thompson, who previously served as a supplier in 159 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, a British Army Reserve Logistic Regiment, recently secured a job working in Pharmacy Stores at King’s Mill Hospital.

As an integral part of the Army’s supply chain, the regiment is responsible for ensuring the right kit is sent to the right place, at the right time. This includes equipment ranging from ammunition, food and weapons to replacement armoured vehicles. Christopher served in Germany and also helped out on Operation Olympics – Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

His new NHS role requires many of the same skills he developed in the Army, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Christopher said: “Shana answered any questions I had and helped me through the induction, which made the entire process a lot easier. I’d definitely recommend Step into Health to others in a similar position.”

Rob Simcox, director of People at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “We recognise the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel develop when serving and appreciate the benefit these can bring to roles within the NHS.

“The NHS is home to more than 350 careers so there really is something for everyone – from catering, maintenance, administration, finance, communications, management, or a role in one of the clinical services, to name but a few, this programme will benefit you.”

Sherwood Forest Hospitals, which manages King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community hospitals, has signed the Armed Forces pledge and has Silver employment status in addition to gold accreditation from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) in recognition of the support it provides.

The trust is celebrating the contribution made by the entire Armed Forces community in the run-up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June. The Armed Forces flag is flying at all three hospital sites, and the towers at King’s Mill Hospital will be lit red, white and blue, after sunset from 24 to 29 June. An Armed Forces Network is being set up for employees so they can consider the support that’s available and how the trust celebrates occasions such as Remembrance Day.

Step into Health is open to all service leavers and veterans and their spouse or partner. The Trust guarantees interviews for applicants from the Armed Forces community who meet the essential criteria for a post. Placements are also available.

If you would like more information,  visit or contact Shana McCullagh, Recruitment Officer at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, via email at [email protected].