The Freedom to Serve. Military Nurses Tell Their Stories
Thanks for the Memories  
Brigadier General (Retired) Kris Campbell RN PhD
 
I am thankful for my 30-plus years in the Army. I didn't plan to stay that long, it just kind of happened. I joined the Army to travel, stayed because I loved the professional practice of Army Nursing and Army Medicine, and stayed even longer because I felt I had a commitment to give back. Along the way I had incredible experiences and made wonderful friends. My career was a blend of Active Duty and Army Reserve, which worked out well for me and allowed me to experience, I think, the best of both worlds.
 
There are so many reasons I am thankful for my Army career. It is satifying to work for an organization that is mission-driven and value-based. The bottom line is taking care of soldiers and their families. Always. I loved the focus on mission and sense of purpose in my work. The Army is an organization that develops leaders at all levels. Those professional development experiences are challenging and fulfilling, personally and professionally, and I benefitted tremendously from that education and training. That's not to say I always liked it, but I did always learn. It can be hard, but don't we value the things we work hardest for?
 
I have wonderful, amazing friends because of our shared Army lives. Those friendships enrich my life. I met my husband in the Army, and I'm pretty happy about that, too. I saw more of the world than most and am working on seeing the rest. Thanks to the army, I'm also quite healthy. I started running about 36 years ago because I had to, and I'm still running now because I can.
 
So, I'm thankful for my Army career. I think I'm a better and happier person because of my time in uniform. I also have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve. I'm thankful I had the opportunity to serve some of them.
60 days in Iraq 
Major Teresa M. Trillo MSN RN CNE

My tour in Iraq was only 60 days. But temperatures were scorching, frequently hitting 120 degrees. In Iraq, we airlifted wounded warriors from multiple, forward operating bases throughout the country and transported them back to Balad where we transferred their care to a plane that took them to Germany for higher-level care and eventually transported them back to home station.

I learned a great deal about making do with limited resources during my time in Iraq. We survived sand storms and attack warnings. Occasionally something would make it over the wire, and our planes were targeted during take-off and landing, but I rarely felt I was in real danger. We learned to sleep during the day, despite the noise from multiple aircraft coming and going, so we could work at night when it was cooler.

Setting up our aircraft to receive patients was a sweaty endeavor. But wearing a flak vest and helmet was even more uncomfortable. I worked with an outstanding aeromedical crew from McChord, consisting of one other nurse and three medical technicians. We bonded rapidly and performed proficiently. I had complete trust in their abilities and felt well supported throughout my deployment. It is difficult to identify a single experience or memory that stands out. Every mission had its challenges and rewards. Overall, I was just grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Giving the Best Care to our Service Men and Women 
Medori S. Hill RN BSN CNOR
 
Caring for our ill and injured service members has been the most rewarding work I have accomplished during my nursing career. My military career started in 2002 as an active duty nurse in the primary care clinics on McCord Air Force Base and progressed to my current position as a flight nurse with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron on what is now called "Joint Based Lewis-McChord."


I have had the opportunity to care for our true heroes of war in-flight during three different deployments which took me to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and stateside. The men and women are so appreciative of the care they receive during the long journey home; they truly deserve the best care, treatment, and support our country has to offer.
A life of Service  
Colonel (Retired) Leland Jurgensmeier RN BSN MSN

I had the pleasure of spending more than half of my life as a nurse and at the same time serving my country as a member of the United States Army. I enjoyed all my roles which included direct patient care, supervision, management, LPN School Director, Health Policy Operations, and Director of Nursing.

Nursing is a rich profession with practically unlimited areas for working with people who need health care. I have personally sampled but a few.

My career came full circle after retirement from the military and I am back to providing individualized care for our American Heroes and their families as a case manager in a traumatic brain injury program. All this and a loving supportive family. It doesn't get any better.
In for Life  
LTC (Retired) Diane Mathews RN BSN MS
 
 
I entered the Army Nurse Corps as a student at the University of Pittsburgh. The Army paid for the last two years of my BSN in exchange for three years active service as a Nurse Corps officer. It obviously agreed with me, because those three years turned into twenty four, with additional education at the O.R. speciality course and assignments in Washington State, Washington DC, Louisiana, California, two tours in Germany, and one very intense assignment in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991).

I retired from the military in 1994 and settled in Olympia, WA (three assignments at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma gave me ample time to fall in love with the area). I worked another nine years at Providence Centralia Hospital, and then two years at Madigan Hospital before hanging up my scrubs for good. I keep busy now volunteering at my church and the local blood center, and participate in a variety of winter and summer (very low-impact) sports.

My tour of duty in a combat zone was an interesting mix of fear, loneliness, accomplishment, and camaraderie--all wrapped in a mantle of powder-fine sand whipped around by constant wind. As the senior officer in my perioperative specialty, I was the director of the O.R. Recovery Room, and Central Supply. Imagine trying to keep a field sterile in a tent in the desert. Not an easy task, for sure. We had to learn to make do with what we had, and found that focusing on safety and the patient outcome, rather than the process, often led to creative and novel ways of getting the job done.
Student Nurse Cares for Returning Vietnam Soliders
Ruth E. Rea RN MSN PhD
  
 
I entered the Army via a four-year BSN Army Scholarship. During my junior/senior year, all of my professors at Walter Reed Medical Center were Army Nurse Corps officers. I was not from a military family, so this was quite a change.

A circle of 30-plus patients greeted me at my first mess hall meal waving their various prosthetic limbs. All of my surgical patients were injured in Vietnam. I listened to an angry colonel express his frustration at being "boarded" out of the Army and I saw my psychiatric patient shed tears about trauma experienced in Vietnam.

I spent Thanksgiving in "labor" with my maternity patient as she gave birth without her mobilized husband. This was during America's Vietnam protests which led to great self-reflection. However, as my classmates would say when paraphrasing Florence Nightingale's pledge, "I have a special commitment--to bandage a wound at a time, a solider at a time." Yes, I came to realize that I loved to be a nurse to soldiers and their families!
Kandahar, Afghanistan
Major Michael Sadler, Cheif Nurse 250th FST (ABN)

Providing advanced nursing care in Kandahar, Afghanistan 2001 to US and coalition forces.
 
 
Thank You
 
 
This special edition of WCN's newsletter is dedicated to our military nurses.  Thank you for your bravery and support. We encourage every individual to remember our nation's heroes as they fight and care for our country. Have a safe and exciting Forth of July!

For more resources regarding military nursing careers, visit:
 
 
 

Would you like to forward this email to a friend? Click here.

Share This Email: Facebook Twitter Digg Myspace Linked In Delicious