Specialty Interview: A SALUTE TO The ARMY NURSE CORP

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

July 4, 2012




Today’s Specialty Spotlight is a previous co-worker of mine and a much respected ARMY NURSE.  I want to thank all of those currently and have served in the past in our Armed Services for the freedoms that we hold dear.  The dedication of these individuals and their strength of character go far beyond what we as civilians could ever expect.

An Army Nurse with the US Army Nurse Corp

Meet Army Nurse: 1st Lt. Rose, RN BSN

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?
My brother inspired me. He is in the National Guard and had been deployed to Iraq several times. I had so much respect for him and his soldiers, and I wanted to help.  The primary reason I joined the Military is that I wanted to take care of soldiers. I did not choose to work in Med/Surg, and 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:

Army Nursing Team Creed

I am a member of the Army Nursing Team. My patients depend on me and trust me to provide compassionate and proficient care always.

I nurture the most helpless and vulnerable and offer courage and hope to those in despair. I protect the dignity of every individual put in my charge. It end to the physical and psychological wounds of our warriors and support the health, safety, and welfare of every retired Veteran.

I am an advocate for family members who support and sustain their Soldier during times of War. It is a privilege to care for each of these individuals and I will always strive to be attentive and respectful of their needs and honor their uniquely divine human spirit.  

Check out the

We are the Army Nursing Team  

We honor our professional practice standards and live the Soldier values.

We believe strength and resiliency in difficult times is the cornerstone of Army Nursing.

We embrace the diversity af our team and implicitly understand that we must maintain a unified, authentically positive culture and support each other’s physical, social, and environmental well-being.

We have a collective responsibility to mentor and foster the professional growth of our newest Team members so they may mentor those who follow.

We remember those nursing professionals who came before us and honor their legacy, determination, and sacrifice.

We are fundamentally committed to provide exceptional care to past, present, and future generations who bravely defend and protect our Nation.

The Army Nursing Team: Courage to Care, Courage to Connect, Courage to Change

What Does an Army Nurse do?

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.

A gratifying moment

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.

Off-Hour Calls

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.

Additional Training

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.

An Army Nurse Experience

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.

Advice from an Army Nurse

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.

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