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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



12 May 2021

Today, the world celebrates the hard work, dedication, support and commitment that nurses in every continent, make to the well-being of the communities in which they serve.  

One of these nurses is RAF reservist; Squadron Leader O'Neill who is the Senior Officer (Medical) at 502 Squadron in Northern Ireland.  With overall responsibility for recruitment, governance, training and deployment of all Surgical and Medical personnel within the squadron. 

A nurse of 46 years and over 20 years experience, Squadron Leader O’Neill has been deployed across world in times of crisis.  Having brought her skills and experience as a medical reservist to areas of need, including working as a trauma nurse co-coordinator in the field hospital at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, Squadron Leader O’Neill took on the role of SO2 Medical in 2018 after joining as a Senior Nursing Officer 
Currently 16 medical personnel in the Squadron cover all aspects of medicine,  ranging from nurses, anaesthetists, dentists, doctors, dental nurses, medical support officer, pharm techs, and paramedics which bring together a range of  expertise, and seen deployments including Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Oman and USA as well UK backfills 

Still a nurse by ‘trade, Squadron Leader O'Neill has been involved in the fight against COVID 19 nursing on the front line in Northern Ireland, in hospital wards and looking after patients, and is currently working as part of a small team vaccinating housebound patients within Northern Ireland..

On the career as a Reserve Nurse, Squadron Leader O’Neill said:

“One of the most important skills I gained in the Military was leadership, which not only helped me with in the Reserves, but also allowed me to progress within my civilian career.

“Being in the RAF nursing service gives you so much more confidence and real job satisfaction I am grateful to know that I along with the thousands of nurses across the world have this day of reflection to promote our role within society.”

Pictured: Squadron Leader Mary B O'Neill and with colleagues Sergeant Una Armstrong and Flight Lieutenant Jamie Wilson