North East Connected

Armed Forces Day: Operating a career on the front-line of healthcare


Improving the career prospects for military personnel during and after active service is central to the mission of a University of Sunderland lecturer.

Terry McDermott-Moses spent more than 20 years juggling her career as a nurse with her role as an Army Reservist. She has risen to some of the highest ranks in her profession as an Emergency Care Practitioner with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, and as Senior Nursing Officer with the 225 Medical Regiment.

Both roles gave her the confidence and leadership skills to share her healthcare knowledge when she began teaching at the University of Sunderland in 2020 as a Senior lecturer in Clinical skills and Prescribing, and also as Programme Lead for the Certificate of Higher Education (Military).

Terry’s education and training with the Armed Forces have now become so widely recognised that the British Army recently called on her services to fly out to Brunei in Southeast Asia, to train an Infantry of 10 soldiers in frontline emergency care skills.

These are skills she teaches on the Certificate of Higher Education, a programme which offers serving military personnel and veterans the opportunity to build on their existing abilities and experience. They are provided with the additional knowledge and qualifications required to progress onto a health-related honours degree.

The first group will complete their certificates next month – a proud moment for Terry, from Sunderland, who says: “To enable military personnel access to higher education to become nurses, paramedics or allied health professionals, and to start a degree, is truly life changing for those who have served their country or are currently still serving.”

She added: “Many people join the Army straight from school, and may not have any qualifications This can cause so much anxiety and apprehension, with doors to work often closing to them when they return to civilian life. This programme however, gives them that piece of paper to enhance their learning, and opens the doors to a university degree.

“We are one of the only Higher Education Institutes which offers a military focused Certificate of Higher Education, delivered online with live tutorials. It’s a nationally recognised qualification and supported by the Defence Military Academy.
“I delighted to be part of their journey and it’s important we recognise their service and skills as we head towards Armed Forces Day (Saturday, 24 June).”

Simone Bedford – Chair of the Veterans and Reservists Staff Network and Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing (FHSW), said: “Terry is an absolute asset to the University, she brings a plethora of skills from her NHS and military experience which have been put to good use in the academic setting. I applaud all our veterans and reservists at the university for their Service and commitment to defending our country.”

Terry was attracted to the University due to the institute’s deep commitment to supporting veterans into a new career once they’ve left military service. Sunderland is a Gold award holder under The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The scheme recognises employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant. It is a promise to ensure that those who serve, or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, will be treated fairly.2

Terry is also a huge advocate of the Army Reserves, which she joined at aged 31, when she admits she was looking for some “excitement in her life” alongside her job as an emergency care nurse.

She joined as a private, then commissioned in 2012 from Sandhurst as a Captain in the Queen Alexandra Royal Nursing Corp. Terry then became a Clinical Trained Officer Squadron Second in Command, she was then promoted to Major in 2018, before becoming an Officer Commander of 251 Medical Squadron in Seaburn, Sunderland. In November 2022 she became Senior Nursing Officer, a role she still holds.

Terry, who also keeps her skills up to date by shift working in hospital clinical care, says: “I’d recommend the Reserves to anyone, it gave me leadership skills, confidence and the basic drive to achieve from a young age.

“You’re constantly developed and put in new situations. Hopefully this is reflected in all the work I do at the University.

“And hopefully we will see generations of families coming to our university, support their careers and offering them a bright future.”

The University held a coffee and cake event at the City Campus’ Veterans’ Garden on Friday ahead of Armed Forces Day.

For more information about the University of Sunderland’s support for the Armed Forces, click here.

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