Step into Health - Ronnie Waugh

Ronnie Waugh

Ronnie served a total of 24 years in the Armed Forces working for both the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the Military Provost Guard Service. He now talks about his transition from being medically discharged to starting a new career in the NHS.

I grew up in Dumfries Scotland, and after completing basic training I joined the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) in 1988. During this time, I served in Northern Ireland and the Gulf on operation Granby. I left the KOSB in 1992 due to the proposed amalgamation of my regiment. Later I returned to the Armed Forces in the Military Provost Guard Service where I worked in various locations over a 20-year period, reaching the rank of sergeant. I was medically discharged in 2017 after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in November 2015.

Before knowing I would be medically discharged I attended a range of training courses and recovery programmes where I found out about the Step into Health programme.

I registered to attend the open day at Hampshire Hospitals. Following the open day, I had no doubts that it was an organisation I wished to work with. The staff were approachable and understood my needs and concerns about working in a hospital. I managed to secure a work placement as a porter whilst still serving in the forces. I found the whole experience very rewarding and fulfilling, my confidence and self-esteem grew and the longer I've worked in the NHS the more I've learned.

If I had not known about this programme I’m not sure where I’d be now. The NHS has a pretty good support network and I feel it understands how to support me and my condition. The NHS works like the military, I’ve found the structure helpful and it has aided me to feel settled. Since leaving the Armed Forces I’ve learnt that I can still work independently but I just need to take small steps, working in the NHS enables this.

I currently work as an x-ray bank porter, I realised I really enjoyed working in this department when I was on a work placement. The skills I learnt in the military, my work ethic, loyalty and professional pride have certainly started me on the right foot. My compassion for others as well as having the ability to work well in a team is well suited to the NHS.

As I look to the future, I hope to be appointed as a facilities manager however, I know that my condition will determine whether this is possible.

Working in the NHS has given me the belief and confidence in myself that I had lost. I once again feel part of a team that is totally committed to the job in hand and we always perform to the best of our abilities. I put my cards on the table from day one as I didn’t want any skeletons in the cupboard. My colleagues have been very supportive and have been very vocal on complimenting me on how well I have settled in, this gives me a sense of belonging.

My new role has impacted hugely on my family life. The change in my mood has not gone unnoticed by my children, I now have the willingness to spend more time with them and do more around the house. Although I still have the odd blip now and again, the techniques I have learnt along the way really help, and both my wife and children know how best to leave me to get on with it. As a family, we are a lot happier than we have been in a long time.

I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone to a career in the NHS, the support you receive from your initial contact through to employment and beyond is amazing.

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