Naval Nurse Reserve

Service:Surface Fleet
Branch:Royal Naval Reserve
Humanitarian aid
A Royal Navy Naval Nurse at work.

At a glance

What you’ll do

Being an Adult Nurse (Reserves) means using your skills to support vital Royal Navy operations, all over the world. You’ll encounter some of the most challenging environments imaginable, so you’ll develop both personally and professionally. You don’t need any naval experience, just the desire to practise where you’re needed most, experiencing and doing things few medical professionals can imagine.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Deliver world class healthcare as part of a highly skilled and motivated team.
  • Provide vital support to maritime and wider military operations across the globe.
  • Provide support in a range of challenging conditions at sea, on land or in the air. Adapt to a variety of platforms including state of the art warships such as the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.
  • Travel the world as part of the front line medical services team.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Military specific qualifications with obvious cross benefit to NHS practice e.g. immediate life support (ILS) and any specialisation course to your clinical area
  • The opportunity to undergo formal management training on reserve staff and command courses

Skills you'll develop

  • Your professional skills will be broadened and enhanced with direct benefit to your civilian practice
  • You will be trained and developed by an organisation recognised for its ability to turn out world class leaders

Career Progression

Promotion is linked to successful completion of Basic Training and after that it’s merit based. You’ll begin as an Acting Leading Naval Nurse. After completing your initial professional training in your chosen branch and specialisation, you’ll be promoted to Petty Officer.

Competition is tough, but with experience and further training, you could be selected for promotion to up to Warrant Officer.

What you'll need


  • You should have an Adult Nursing Diploma, ideally with a specialism. If you haven’t had specialist training, we can offer this. If you are a registered Nurse (Adult) without a diploma, you can still join and we can offer you the training to get you to degree level
  • You must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), but can also apply in your last year of nurse training to be selected on a conditional offer, subject to receiving an NMC PIN
  • You must be aged 20-52 when you start training.
  • You need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the five years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • A nursing professional
  • A skilled medical professional
  • A confident and well-organised practitioner
  • A team player
  • A problem-solver who works well under pressure
  • Physically and mentally fit
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Your first step is to fill in an online application form. If you have any questions beforehand, you can phone us on 0345 600 3222

  • Presentation

    You will be invited to attend an Initial Maritime Reserves Presentation (IMRP) at your nearest Unit. This is your chance to have a look around, meet the team, ask any questions and find out about life in the Reserves

  • Recruitment Test and interview

    You will be invited to your nearest Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) for an interview, where we will check your eligibility and outline the joining process. See more advice here. You will then sit the Recruitment Test, which assesses your basic reasoning, literacy, numeracy skills and mechanical comprehension. You can try a practise test here. You will also be invited to have an interview with the medical recruiting team

  • Join your local Unit

    You will then be invited to join your Unit for Attestation. This involves swearing allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen and signing the Official Secrets Act. At this point you’ll be a Phase 0 recruit, and will attend weekly drill nights, however you won’t be able to start formal training until you pass your medical and fitness test

  • Medical and fitness test

    The medical tests are carried out by your nearest Ministry of Defence approved doctor, but eye tests can be completed at selected high street centres. The Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) requires you to complete a 2.4km run on a treadmill at a local approved fitness centre. Check out this booklet for tips on how to prepare

  • Phase 1 training

    You’ll now be a signed-up member of the Royal Naval Reserve as a Phase 1 recruit. At this stage you’ll be given your Royal Navy identification card and uniform, and be able to conduct formal basic training

  • Training

    During your Phase 1 training you will learn about life in the Royal Navy. This takes place on weekly drill nights. You’ll also spend two weekends learning about life in the military and what it is like at sea

  • Confirmation course

    This two-week course is held at HMS Raleigh. Once you’ve completed this you will go on to specialise in your chosen discipline

Initial training

Training and development continues throughout your career with the Royal Navy Reserve.

Basic Training takes place at weekends and on weekday evenings at your local unit. These link in with national training weekends where you’ll train with people from other units. You’ll complete a 1-week weapons course, before attending a 2-week confirmation course at HMS Raleigh. There you’ll train alongside ratings who are completing their Basic Training for the full-time Royal Navy.

Training is also conducted online via a Virtual Learning Environment, so you’ll need access to the Internet.

If you can’t swim, make sure you’ve learned before you join us.

Professional training

Once you have completed basic initial training you will become a formal member of the reserve Medical Branch. Your training then includes broad naval nursing training, within the branch, and courses tailored to your specialty. You will have the opportunity to attend wider tri-service training across the Defence Medical Services including annual conferences and meetings. The training is designed to prepare you to support the Royal Navy and wider military, whatever the challenge, worldwide.