Being an officer in the Army is unlike any other profession. The Army is filled with vast opportunities to grow not only professionally, but personally as well. The Army also values furthering education to foster strong leaders. The best aspect of the Army is the fact that they take care of their own, unlike many civilian professions. These aspects serve as the core reasons I want to become an officer in the Army.
One of the main things the Army has continually helped me do is grow in my leadership skills. I am a nice, reserved person who can be intimidated by trying something new. By being in the Army, I hope to learn to be assertive in both my personal and professional life. It is necessary for me to be able to stand up for what is important and speak up for others as well as myself, even if that means going against the norm. The Army has also taught me how to make a plan and follow through with it, as well as how important it is to be able to adjust to changing plans without much notice. I have continually learned to work through stress and how to decrease anxiety through being in ROTC. In both professional and personal life, everything is usually handled healthier when the mind is clear and calm. I believe that I would not be the person I am turning into today if I was not in the Army.
It is often human nature to become creatures of habit and feel uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations, some people more so than others. This is true for me. In new situations I panic. When I am good at something I am really good at it and when I am unsure about something I am extremely nervous and the flight response kicks in. Through becoming an officer I hope that this can change. It has already started to change by being forced to lead things I normally would not choose to do and succeeding in doing so. For example, at physical training a few weeks ago we did a counter column for the first time as squad leaders. We did not know we were doing it until about four minutes before we took on the task. Despite not doing it before, our platoon did fantastic and it built confidence even though the task was minimal. This is commonly seen throughout the Army organization.
The Army functions like a family unit. From the very beginning I was welcomed into ROTC, despite not being familiar with the organization or the people. When I first began ROTC, one of the MS II’s helped me feel welcome and aided in the improvement of my athletic abilities. It turns out she is now a close friend, and fellow nursing student. Throughout the past few years I have experienced countless occasions where we have been there for each other. Through my past experiences I know that wherever I am sent, there will be people around that care about me and that I am able to lean on, which makes the decision to become an active duty nurse quite an easy decision.
Education is important in the nursing profession because areas within the practice are constantly changing. New ideas are being envisioned, technology advances occur, and therapies change. It is the nurse’s job to make sure they have the most current knowledge, so that they can administer the best care to their patients. In an officer’s case the best care is going to the Soldier, their family, as well as citizens in the area. The Army values education and they push their nurses to advance their education level and learn about new technology. This is seen through the opportunity to visit Fort Sam Houston early on in the cadet program and as a senior, nursing students are able to experience what it is truly like to be an Army nurse during a summer internship. As an officer, I am excited to further grow in my nursing assessment skills as well as technical skills as I advance in my military career.
One of the values the Army holds at high importance is training those that will take your job in the future. In the Civilian profession everyone is too afraid that if they train someone exceptionally well that their job will be in jeopardy. In the Army your job is not at risk. As a nurse, a person would rather work with someone that knows what they are doing and delivers quality care, than a poor employee that offers below average care to their patients. In the long run it is better to train someone well and have them do a better job than the alternative. This concept alone makes being an Army officer much more appealing then working in the civilian world.
The nursing profession is so vast that no matter what a person is interested in there is no way a nurse can get bored or unhappy with their chosen profession. The only difference there is between an Army nurse and a civilian nurse is the clientele that we treat. As an officer, I will be taking care of and giving back to the Soldiers that defend what makes our country so grand, as well as giving back to their families. The Army also has various opportunities to help citizens in other countries by aiding in improving their health care system through peacekeeping missions. These missions offer education, quality care, as well as immunizations to those who would normally not have access. I am motivated knowing that I will be able to serve my country in this matter and utilize my skills to make a difference in the lives of others.
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go, some stay awhile and leave a footprint on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same (NursingLink, 2010)". For me this quote paints a clear picture of what being an Army nurse is all about. A nurse’s job is to care for their patients, advocate for them, and hopefully make a difference in their lives. As an officer, I will get to do these three things everyday while doing something I love.