Supporting our Armed Forces

At the Countess we are proud to support the armed forces. We have received the bronze award for the Defence Employer Scheme and will be working toward our silver award in the coming year. We have also pledged to ‘Step into Health’ to support service leavers and their families into NHS careers and we have strong relationship with our local barracks and the 208 Field Hospital supporting and promoting reservists.

Meet the reserves currently working at the Countess below. 

Name: Alexandra Thomas 

Job title: Orthopaedic Scrub Nurse

“I wanted to develop additional skills that are different to the usual skills that I use in my day to day job and the reservists gave me that opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone whilst being supported by a network of people that give you a real sense of family. I’ve been a part of the reservists for around a year and a half now and have always felt supported to push myself both in and out of work, as part of the fitness work and my humanitarian work which the reserves give me the opportunity to develop. I’m extremely proud to be the Countess Champion for the reserves.”



Name: Natasha Rodway-Studds 

Job title: 2nd Year Student Nurse

“I always wanted to do something with the army and the reservists gave me the opportunity to do that alongside my studies. I started to visit the unit in March last year and completed my training in November; it’s helped me develop my skills especially alongside what I am learning at University. It’s a great opportunity and I am really proud to be a part of it.”




Name: Sarah Viejak 

Job title: Physiotherapist

“I joined the reservists for some new challenges and adventures whilst balancing them with my current role, it’s great to be able to say I’m a part of something with a worldwide reach and the experience I’ve gained from others has been invaluable. I’ve been in the reserves for just over a year and it still makes me feel proud to be a part of something like the reserves.”




Name: Sam Miles 

Job title: Deputy Ward Manager (Ward 45)

“I always liked the idea and wanted to sign up and having spoken to other members of staff at the Countess they only reinforced the idea, the reserves give you the opportunity to something different, get away from the usual 9-5  and learn skills outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been in the reservists since August last year and I am already ticking off some of the things I have always wanted to do.”




Name: Louise Jen-Balee 

Job title: Staff Nurse

“I joined the reserves to build my confidence and develop a different set of skills that I could then use in my job. During my 4 years with the reserves I have had the opportunity to build relationships with a range of people and now look forward to being promoted and continuing to work my way through the ranks.”




Name: Peter Keegan 

Job title: Educational Support Technician, Resuscitation & Clinical  Skills training team and Medical Education

“I actually joined the reserves 1989, before joining the regular army in 1991 til 1999. Having enjoyed the structure of the military it only made sense that whilst in a different job I reverted back to my original reservist commitment in 1999. Having spent time in the army I now really enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience in a range of areas that support the work that needs to be done.”



We would love to hear from you if you think we can help or you want to get involved with any of our activity. For more information, please contact or call 01244 362103.

Step into Health

Step into Health is open to all Service Leavers and Veterans and their spouse/partner. It is an incredible opportunity in which employers are working with the Armed Forces Community to provide career and development opportunities within the NHS.

Whether you are interested in 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. The NHS is keen to invite you to explore your transferable skills and the potential training and career opportunities available.

The Step into Health Programme has been created because the NHS recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel develop when serving, and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles.

The Countess of Chester Hospital is proud to be a part of this initiative and look forward to hearing from you soon.