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Senior Naval Nurse post remains at Scotia

14 April 2017
At the beginning of April 2017, Commander (Cdr) Pauline Small of HMS SCOTIA, retired after eighteen years of service.

Cdr Small most recently held the post of Senior Officer, Naval Nursing for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), a role she has now passed to Cdr Kit McKinley, also of HMS Scotia. 

Cdr Small, from Glenrothes, Fife, retired from her job with NHS Scotland in 2015, but continued with her RNR service until April this year. She was an inspirational officer to the Unit and her Branch, in a variety of roles including Regional Training Officer, National Nursing Service Co-ordinator and National Nurse Recruiter.

 Reflecting on her years of service, Cdr Small said "I think the most important aspect of my career has been influencing future policy and strategy. Highlights include initiating the development of the NHS Reserve Service Policy in Scotland and working with the Scottish Government to secure internships for newly qualified nurses, joining Reserve Medical Services and offering clinical placements within the NHS as part of their Reserve Service training."

Pauline has been an inspiration to many within her Branch, as well as blazing a trail for women within the Service.

Cdr Tom Knowles

Earlier in her career, Cdr Small became the first member of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) Reserve to secure a clinical placement at the Defence Medical Service Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.

She was also the first Officer from QARNNS Reserve to be appointed as Head of Department and Deck Co-ordinator in the Primary Casualty Receiving Facility on board RFA Argus, during Exercise Medical Endeavour.

Cdr Tom Knowles, Commanding Officer HMS Scotia, said "Pauline has been an inspiration to many within her Branch, as well as blazing a trail for women within the Service. Her counsel, commitment and courage will be sorely missed by all of those who worked with her."

Cdr Small deployed to the Princess Mary Hospital, RAF Akrotiri in 2006, providing niche skills in a tri-service environment. Her commitment to the naval service was rewarded with presentation of the QARNNS Reserve Centenary Trophy in 2005.

In 2014, she became the first military nurse to be appointed to the Nursing Times Inaugural Leaders list and this achievement was reinforced with a Commendation from Flag Officer Reserves in February 2016. Cdr Small also received two Achievement Awards from HMS Scotia in 2003 and 2007, recognising her commitment to the Unit.

Commander Small is a passionate believer in the QARNNS ethos and she offered the following advice to her replacement, Cdr Kit McKinley, "be your own person, uphold the values and traditions of the service and most importantly always remember to be a leader, not just a manager."

All of HMS Scotia wish Pauline and her family the very best for her retirement. The ship recognises the huge contribution she has made to the Unit, the RNR Medical Branch and the Naval Service.

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