Army Nurse Corps celebrates 111th anniversary
By Patricia Deal
CRDAMC Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas—Army nurses at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center will join Army nurses around the world in celebrating the 111th anniversary of the inception of the Army Nurse Corps Feb. 2.
The Army Nurse Corps has a wonderfully rich history with Army nurses serving in every major conflict that the United States has taken part in and continues to be in. The Army Nurse Corps continued to grow and evolve after World War I, setting the standard for nursing practices worldwide during times of peace and war.
The Corps continues to make history today as Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho became the first woman and the first Army nurse sworn in as the Army's 43rd Surgeon General in December 2011.
“Nurses have direct impact on the outcome of the health of patients and we’re seeing a positive culture change as we practice patient-centered care throughout army medicine,” said Col. Patrick Sargent, CRDAMC commander. “Just as their predecessors proved they were up to the challenge, Darnall nurses today demonstrate their ability to provide world-class health care to each patient. They are the best at what they do, epitomizing the Army medicine mantra of “serving to heal, honored to serve.’”
Almost 300 active duty and reserve Army nurses currently serve in various clinics and departments throughout CRDAMC, and Col. Risa Bator, deputy commander for Nursing and Patient Services, said she is proud to serve with them all.
“Each and every one of them made a conscious choice to care for Soldiers and their families. They are compassionate and dedicated to their patients. Their motivation is not monetary but in the reward of knowing they are doing their part for their country as they care for those wounded and ill Soldiers and their family members,” she said.
Why someone chooses nursing as a profession is an individual decision, just as is why they would decide to join the Army. But the resounding theme among the Army nurses at Darnall centers around “love caring for patients” and “excited about the Army’s approach to nursing services.”
Capt. Jason Montgomery, an Intensive Care Unit nurse, was a civilian nurse when his patriotic spirit spurred him to “give back to his country” and he became an Army nurse in 2002. He was one of the first ICU nurses attached to an aviation unit, flying more than 190 MEDEVAC flights downrange to pick up wounded warriors. “There’s no greater honor to serve as an Army nurse in a combat zone,” he said. “The look of appreciation in the eyes of the Soldiers you’re helping is so rewarding.”
That patriotic spirit is also what drove Capt. Daniel Wall, a nurse in CRDAMC’s Medical Surgical Department, to leave his civilian nurse career and become an Army nurse. “Nothing is more rewarding than nursing, and nothing gives me more honor than serving Soldiers and their families,” he said. “I was prior enlisted, and I’m just a few years from my 20-year (retirement) mark, but I plan on staying an Army nurse as long as I can.”
Second Lt. Robert Wolfskill, a nurse in the Mother/Baby unit, was also prior enlisted before deciding to become an Army nurse. “I like nursing, providing hands-on, personalized care to patients. Being an Army nurse, I have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of nursing disciplines,” he said.
Wolfskill is currently completing CRDAMC’s Clinical Nurse Transition Program, which rotates new nurses through different clinics and units throughout the hospital for their first six months.
The opportunity for different experiences in nursing is also what appealed to 1st Lt. Courtney Salter, a medical surgical nurse in the Pediatric Unit. “I feel I can do such more good for people as a nurse in the Army,” she said. “I was prior enlisted and my military experience has given me discipline and commitment. The Army offers me the opportunity to learn and grow as a nurse, allowing me to become the best I can be.”
After numerous jobs, including stints in the Army and Air Force, 2nd Lt. Todd Stetz found his niche in Army nursing. “My mom was my biggest influencer. She’s been a nurse for more than 30 years, also serving several years in the Air Force. She always thought nursing would be a good fit for me and I absolutely do love it,” he said. “I like the Army Nurse Corps’ approach to patient care, and see many positive changes ahead that will allow us to continue to provide world-class healthcare to our patients.”
Her mother was also her inspiration in becoming a nurse, 2nd Lt. Lauren Drewiske said, and she thought the Army would be the best place to put her skills to use. “The Army offers training and experiences to its nurses to ensure the highest caliber of professionals,” she said. “Lieutenant General (Patricia) Horoho also serves as an inspiration to me, showing that there’s no limitations to what an Army nurse can achieve.”
The positive changes in the Army Nurse Corps also appealed to 1st Lt. Julie Jeleniewski, behavioral health nurse in the Psychiatric Unit. “I couldn’t be happier with my decision to become an Army nurse,” she said. “It’s incredible how the Nurse Corps has changed. All Army nurses serve selflessly, but the way they were treated in the past compared to today is like day and night. With the direction of the Corps now, I know it’s only going to get better.”
Col. Brian Kondrat, chief of Nursing Administration, oversees the administrative and career development responsibilities of the nurses at CRDAMC and believes that leadership and mentorship is important in shaping the quality of nurses.
“Nursing runs in my family, but I was an Armor officer for seven years before I became an Army nurse. Yet my career as a nurse might have been short lived, had I not received good mentorship and leadership after my first assignment,” he said. “There’s so much opportunity in Army nursing, and nurses can have a rewarding career unlike any other. I know that just as I was many years ago, Darnall nurses are passionate and dedicated to providing quality healthcare to their patients. I am now just as committed to helping them meet their personal and professional goals.”
CRDAMC will celebrate the 111th ANC anniversary at a cake cutting ceremony Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. in the hospital auditoriums above the Emergency Department.
For more information on the history of the Army Nurse Corps, visit www.history.amedd.army.mil/ANCWebsite/anchome.html
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CRDAMC Labor and Delivery Nurse 2nd Lt. Rebeccah Collins, checks her patient’s reflexes. Collins said she became an Army nurse because “with all that they do, Soldiers and their families deserve the best medical care possible, downrange and on the homefront.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Second Lt. Lauren Drewiske loves nursing and said she thought the Army would be the best place to put her skills to use. She believes the Army offers excellent training and experiences to its nurses and that “there’s no limitations to what an Army nurse can achieve.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
First Lt. Julie Jeleniewski, behavioral health nurse in the Psychiatric Unit said she couldn’t be happier with her decision to become an Army nurse. When looking at the history of the Army Nurse Corps, she said it’s incredible how the Nurse Corps has changed and how it continues to get better for nurses today. (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Colonel Brian Kondrat, chief of CRDAMC Nursing Administration who oversees the administrative and career development responsibilities of the nurses at CRDAMC, believes that “Darnall nurses are passionate and dedicated to providing quality healthcare to their patients.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Captain Jason Montgomery, working in CRDAMC’s Intensive Care Unit, said he became an Army nurse in 2002 to “give back to his country” adding that “there’s no greater honor to serve as an Army nurse in a combat zone.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
1st Lt. Courtney Salter, a medical surgical nurse in the Pediatric Unit said that the Army offers her the opportunity to learn and grow as a nurse, allowing her to “become the best I can be.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Second Lt. Todd Stetz said he found his niche in Army nursing after trying many different jobs. He loves taking care of patients, and sees many positive changes ahead that “will allow us to continue to provide world-class healthcare to our patients.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Captain Daniel Wall, a nurse in CRDAMC’s Medical Surgical Department, said that being an Army nurse is rewarding and “nothing gives me more honor than serving Soldiers and their families.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Second Lt. Robert Wolfskill, a nurse in the Mother/Baby unit, said that he likes being an Army nurse, having the opportunity to experience a wide variety of nursing disciplines.” (US Army photo by Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs)
Public Affairs Office
Capt. Erin Cooksley
Fort Hood, TX 76544