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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


From Royal Navy Nursing to the NHS - Solent Director Scoops National Award for Being Inspirational Role Model

Sharon McCann, Acting Operational Director
Sharon McCann, Acting Operational Director

Congratulations to Sharon McCann, Acting Operational Director at Solent NHS Trust who has been named Role Model of the Year at the Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

Sharon, who was a nurse in the Royal Navy for 27 years before transitioning to the NHS in 2017, has been named the winner of the Role Model of the Year category for her forward-thinking approach to recruiting nurses and attracting Armed Forces veterans as part of that work.

The prestigious, national awards celebrate the achievements of ex-forces personnel who are now excelling in their second careers.

Speaking about her win, Sharon explained: “My 27 year career in the Royal Navy as a nurse really shaped me as a person and it will always run through my veins. Transitioning from the Armed Forces into Civvie Street is a big deal for a veteran and it requires patience and understanding from family and work colleagues. This would not be achieved without the NHS supporting, employing and valuing the vast array of skills and experiences that Armed Forces veterans bring to an organisation. I am proud to be a nurse, an armed forces veteran and for being a member of the Solent family. Winning the 'Role Model of the Year' award just endorses all of this.”

Sharon’s first civilian role was with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as an area matron. There she used her knowledge and experience to look at what motivated and attracted nurses to certain roles, recognising the importance of offering life-long learning and education to new colleagues too.

At the heart of her work, Sharon highlighted vacancies in various ways including social media advertising and open day events. Open days were held in the evenings or at weekends so that applicants could be helped with using NHS Jobs, completing HR processes and carrying out interviews as part of a ‘one stop shop’ approach. Sharon also led on arranging face to face events with local universities and other key partners to encourage community nursing applications.

Sharon, who served overseas including in Afghanistan, joined Solent in March 2019 and continues her important work.

Chief Executive of Solent NHS Trust and former Royal Navy nurse of 16 years, Sue Harriman, said: “Congratulations to Sharon on this brilliant recognition. Sharon is a fantastic example of how those from the Armed Forces have a wealth of transferable skills, qualities and personal values, seeing them become inspiring role models. Sharon’s work inspired NHS colleagues to work together in new and dynamic ways for the benefit of every patient. We are really proud of how our ex-service people  enrich what we do at Solent and within the wider NHS.”

Solent has a wide range of job opportunities in business, finance, administration and facilities management, as well as clinical and support roles. Approaches from serving personnel who are considering a future NHS career are welcomed – work shadowing and experience is available.

If you are interested in finding out more about Solent NHS Trust’s Military and Veteran Programme, email

Learn more about the Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

Photo credit: Caroline Jenkins

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