- Specialty Interview: A SALUTE TO The ARMY NURSE CORP
- Specialty Nurse Interview: ECMO Specialist
- Specialty Spotlight: Flight Nurse
- Specialty Spotlight: Carla Dialysis Nurse
- Specialty Spotlight: Alexandra ICU RN
- Specialty Spotlight: Dr. Sisko Legal Nurse Consultant
- Specialty Spotlight: Clinical Informatics Specialist
- Nurse Travel with A Spouse: The Original Self-Proclaimed Tag-A-Long
- Nurse Travel with A Spouse or “Tag-A-Long”
In Honor of Independence Day A SALUTE TO The ARMY NURSE CORP
Today’s Specialty Spotlight is a previous co-worker of mine and a much respected ARMY NURSE. I would like to thank all of those that are currently and have served in the past in our Armed Services for the freedoms that we hold dearly. The dedication of these individuals and their strength of character go far beyond what we as civilians could ever expect.
Name: 1st Lt. Rose, RN, BSN
Job Title: United States Army Nurse with Army Nurse Corp
List your education/certifications:
Registered Nurse, Bachelor Degree in Nursing Certifications: SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner)
Where do you work:
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl Germany
14 Bed Unit
How long have you worked this Specialty?
I have been at Landstuhl for three years, minus some time while I was deployed to Afghanistan
How/Why did you get involved? Was there someone/something that inspired you to choose this specialty?
I was inspired by my brother, he is in the National Guard and had been deployed to Iraq several times. I had so much respect for him and his soldiers, I wanted to help. I joined the Military because I wanted to take care of soldiers. I did not choose to work in Med/surg, the Army picked that for me. I am going to ER training in a month, but for now I am enjoying med/surg.
What is an Army Nurse Corp Nurse?
This is best defined by the Army Nurse Corp Creed
What do you do all day?
As an Army nurse I take care of service members and their families within the military health system. Our hospital takes care of all service members in the local area of Europe, as well as patients coming in from Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East. I take care of soldiers and family members who are sick enough to be in a hospital, but stable enough to be out of the ICU. Because of the unique mission of my hospital, I deal with many patients coming in from Afghanistan. Every day soldiers come in on the Air Evac flight, and most days I am getting patients ready to fly back to The States. Because we are the first stop for patients from combat zones, much of my work is based around helping patients feel comfortable and safe. Nurses on my unit give out phone cards, help patients get onto the internet and Skype to talk to family. We share our movies, run to the snack machine for soda, and generally go to great lengths to help our patients feel human again.
Our leadership changes frequently, so I am always learning the new quirks of my boss.
What about your job makes you proud to be a nurse? Is there a specific situation that stands out to you as a gratifying moment?
I am so proud of the patients I take care of. Even after going through debilitating injuries, so many of them want to get better and go back to serving. They are so dedicated to their team of soldiers, I am proud to take care of such dedicated people. While I was deployed we had two soldiers come in after an IED blast hit their vehicle. My patient had an injury to his eye, and blast fragments to his legs and his right arm. His buddy was in the ICU, he had lost both of his legs. When the ICU guy came out of surgery my patient asked if he could go see him. So, i loaded him in a wheelchair and brought him to ICU. for 8 hours he sat there holding his buddies hand, refusing any pain medication. He only came back to his bed when we flew his buddy out.
Do you feel you receive adequate support for your responsibilities?
My leadership is very good at making sure we have the supplies we need. They do an excellent job of supporting us, both with supplies and making sure we have adequate down time.
What (if anything) do you get called about on your off-hours?
I get called on my off duty hours all the time, usually about some training I am required to do. I also have extra duties for my ward, and I get frequent calls about that. The army is a 24/7 responsibility.
What is something a nurse who does not work in your particular field might find surprising about your job?
How much of my job is about patient movement. I often joke that part of my job is being a travel agent. On a daily basis I am coordinating with the Air Force to get patients onto air evac flights back to the states. Also, there is the army side of my job, things that have nothing to do with being a nurse, like going to the range, taking PT tests and participating in army training.
Does your position involve teamwork, or is it more of an individual job?
My job involves individual work, like being responsible for a specific set of patients. I also have team work, I am often in charge of the shift and this means making sure that all my nurses have a balanced patient load, time for breaks, help and guidance with their nursing, and commutation with leadership.
Did you position require any extra training besides on-the-job training that you were required to complete?
My job on the (med/surg) ward only required on the job training. I also am trained as a SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner) and that involved a special class. This summer I am also going to 4 months of training to be an ER nurse.
One of the biggest complaints given by hospital unit-based nurses is that they rarely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. Do you find that to be the case with your job as well?
Sometimes yes. When I was deployed it was often too busy to eat. Here in Germany, usually we manage to have time for these things.
What is your definition of “poop hitting the fan?”
That can be anything from a patient who needs to get on the flight in 2 hours but his H&H is too low and we have to get a unit of blood in him, To just too many patients and not enough staff on the ward. Sometimes we have combative patients, and that always makes for an interesting shift. In Afghanistan, this usually meant a Mass Cal and a bunch of patients bypassing the ER and coming to med/surg. No matter what, at the end of the day I enjoy the satisfaction of a busy day.
Is there a specific story or anecdote that you would like to share about an experience or a patient or co-worker?
When I was in Afghanistan I took care of an 8-year-old boy. He was an orphan who had been recruited by the Taliban to plant and IED. In the process of planting the IED the boy was blown up and eventually ended up loosing his leg. Because he had no family with him we could not send him to the Afghani hospital, so he was with us for several months. The nurses I worked with had to be both nurse and parent for him, it was challenging. Before we left Afghanistan we wanted to get him a prosthesis, but because we could not transfer him to another hospital this was impossible.
We decided to build him a prosthesis out of materials on hand in the hospital. The cast technician, surgeon, two nurses and a tech got together and built an artificial leg out of a cane, casting plastic and foam. Our little patient tried out the prosthesis, and found that walking was of course still very difficult. For more than an hour he tried to get the hang of it, enjoying the attention of so many hospital staff.
Later, after everyone left, he took the artificial leg off, and threw it against the wall. It was the first time he realized we were not going to be able to make him perfectly whole again. I went over and picked him up, he curled up in my lap and cried. I wished with all my heart I could bring him back to America where he would be safe and loved. A few days later the FET team located the boys uncle who came to the hospital to pick him up. I don’t know what happened to him, but I will pray for that boy for the rest of my life.
Is there any specific advice or words of wisdom that you would give a nurse pursing a career as an Army Nurse?
The army is a great place to be as a nurse, we have better nurse/patient ratios than the civilian side, and we do a good job of orienting our new nurses. That said, the army requires a lot of patience and dedication. If you’re not willing to work for many hours in conditions that are too hot, too cold, to dusty or too far from home, the army is not going to be for you. If you have a specific area of nursing you would like to work in, like ICU, ER, PEDS, whatever, be prepared to wait several years before you can get into your chosen specialty. No matter what area you want to work in, leadership is part of the army. If you would like to stay as a bedside nurse forever, the VA might be a better choice. The army wants you to take on leadership roles as soon as possible. before joining, find a real live army nurse to talk to, they can provide you with tips that will help you get where your trying to go.
- Army Nurse Welcomed Back Home (fox2now.com)
- Army Nurse Killed in Afghanistan while Off Duty (warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com)
- Where the wounded are (salon.com)
- New Landstuhl commander takes helm in time of great change (stripes.com)
- War’s Secondary Casualties (consortiumnews.com)
- Nursing Skills Fair at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (losangelesnewsone.wordpress.com)