With 25 years in the Royal Navy and four tours of Afghanistan behind her, Janine Whitley is ideally suited to her new role as veterans' clinical advisor for armed forces charity Help for Heroes.
Janine, 43, will be looking after wounded and injured veterans from Torbay, Devon, Cornwall, Bristol and Somerset in her new position and brings with her an impressive CV.
In addition to Afghanistan, the nursing specialist also served around the world in Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Jordan, Norway, and the Philippines, as well as spending time based in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE), Birmingham, Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth and working for 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines in Chivenor, near Barnstaple.
Her last role in military nursing saw her return to Derriford as a deputy matron of the military unit at Joint Hospital Group (SW), before she decided to take a break from the profession, volunteering in resettlement for a veterans’ hub in Exeter, before accepting a job there for a year.
One of the attendees at a Leavers Link SW networking event she co-hosts for service leavers – which linked service people up with businesses – was her former commanding officer in Afghanistan, Carol Betteridge, now Help for Heroes’ head of clinical and medical services.
A discussion and a series of interviews later, Whitley finds herself, once again, delivering the health and mental wellbeing support of former military personnel, albeit in a different way, with more than 40 veterans currently on her books and more expected as restrictions continue to ease.
She said: “I’m a clinical advocate for the charity’s veterans; I determine what the need is and refer them to the necessary medical support teams, removing barriers to their care, liaising with other charities or services, and contacting GPs or consultants to request specialist referrals.
“It’s not hands-on clinical and we’re not a crisis service – but we can certainly make a difference in their care pathways, whether it’s the NHS or other specialist organisations.
To access support from Help for Heroes go to helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 303 9888.
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