Nurse who was double in Outlander wins top Royal Navy award

The critical care nurse from Glasgow has worked at the Golden Jubilee for six years.

Glasgow nurse who worked on Outlander wins top award from Royal Navy NHS Golden Jubilee

A Glasgow nurse who worked on the set of hit television series Outlander has scooped a top prize from the Royal Navy.

Critical care nurse Sandi Bern who works at NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank has become the Navy’s Top Reserve recruit of the year after beginning her training in 2021.

The nurse from Glasgow completed leadership courses with distinction, including as a Leading Hand rank thanks to her nursing degree, and was named as the top student on the course in 2022.

Nurse Bern also worked on the set of Scottish smash hit TV series Outlander as her love of horses landed her a role grooming the animals and as a double for actors during her nursing training in 2014.

Nurse Bern received the award from Commodore of the Maritime Reserves Jo Adey. Photo: NHS Golden Jubilee.

The 31-year-old from Chryston has worked at the Golden Jubilee since she qualified from the University of West of Scotland six years ago.

She was presented with the MacRobert Trust’s Boatswain’s Call Award by the Navy at the Accelerated Rating Programme Pass out Parade at HMS Raleigh and says the invaluable skills learned helped her in critical care.

She said: “A lot of the skills I’ve learned as a Reservist I can use in my own job and civilian life. We get really hands-on fire training with gas masks and do damage repair as well in small spaces as if you are on a ship that is filling up with water.

“There’s a lot of different experiences and you never hope you’ll find yourself in that kind of situation, but you’d be trained to deal with it if you did, so it’s quite exciting.

“There’s a great social aspect to it as well. You get to meet loads of different people and there’s great camaraderie. Everyone has different skills and backgrounds from the likes of engineers, dentists and nurses to lawyers so there’s such a range of people.”

Working on Outlander, she turned her love of horses in to helping groom the animals on set but revealed it is her “claim to fame” that she also completed work as a double in certain scenes of the show.

She said: “I like to have a story to tell. I went into nursing because I like caring for people. When I left school I worked with horses for a few years as a groom and teach people how to ride and prepare the horses for competitions.

“There’s a caring element to that as well, but nursing was what I wanted to do in the end.

“The horses for Outlander were stabled at the yard where I worked, so I would finish up work and training then go and work on Outlander, mainly as a groom, but I did some double work for them too, doubling some of the actors when they were doing scenes on horseback.

“If they thought the scene was too unsafe for the actors, I would do it so that’s my claim to fame. It was an amazing experience.”

As a Navy reservist, she is asked to commit around 28 days per year and is supported in her duties at the hospital which has Gold Award status in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

Sam Heughan is the star of Outlander.

Critical care senior charge nurse, Sarah Jane Faichney, said: “As Sandi’s line manager I’m delighted to be involved in the Hospital’s support of her role as a Navy Reservist.

“She’s obviously dedicated to her Navy activities, but remains fully committed to being a staff nurse within our busy Critical Care department. I am very happy to facilitate flexibility around her hospital shifts, enabling her to attend Navy Reservist training sessions and Sandi always returns very enthusiastic and keen to share stories of her training and fun adventures.

“As she progresses in her nursing career, it’s obvious she has acquired many transferable skills. I’ve seen this particularly around the leadership she shows when in charge of a shift or when organising the team during emergency situations.”

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