Military Science Level I Cadets Timothy Demarais and Jordan Valori recently took part in a tour and nursing professional development opportunity at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The event, which took place Feb. 27 through March 2, was hosted by the 2nd ROTC Brigade headquartered at Fort Dix, N.J., and led by the brigade’s Nurse Counselor Captain Robert Parley. Cadets Demarais and Valori shared the following about their time at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"On the first day of our trip we were afforded the opportunity to tour Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. On our tour we got to hear from a panel of inspiring and unique military nurses. Each nurse wore a different uniform to distinguish what branch of the military they represent. Walter Reed is a “joint” military hospital which means that the different branches such as Navy, Air force and Army work together to provide the very best medical care for all service members. Each nurse explained their personal stories of deployment and their everyday experiences working as military nurse.
"On our tour through Walter Reed, we stopped at a variety of different care centers. The major hospital units we explored were the Intensive Care Units such as the MICU, NICU, and the PICU. Each unit had their own special and engaging features. For example, in the NICU, we were able to observe a 26-week-old premature baby girl asleep in the newest advanced technology to support the baby’s optimal needs for proper growth and development.
On our way through the hospital we heard from a colonel who worked in anesthesiology. He told us about his experience overseas while he was deployed to Afghanistan. Getting the chance to observe the personnel in Walter Reed hospital gave us the sense of how a team works and operates. Hearing and being able to see the different nurses and doctors at work provided a sense of family and community which was stressed to us during the panel discussion. The military works and functions with a sense of community.
The second hospital we visited on our trip to was Fort Belvoir in Virginia, a brand-new joint military hospital that officially opened in August 2011. As we toured the new state-of-the-art medical facility, we were fascinated by the advanced technology within the hospital, and the impressive organization and layout of its structure. The building itself was self-sustaining and environmentally friendly. And if that was not impressive enough, the facility boasted an advanced medical training facility within the hospital to help increase the knowledge and critical advancement of its staff. Clinical physicians and nurses were more than happy to meet us and tell us about what it was like working with the Army, and gave us a broader understanding of what it takes to be a medical professional within the military.
The ROTC nursing trip allowed us to understand the importance of the roles of nurses. The medical treatment nurses give, and the responsibility to care for the injured. We were able to reflect on the importance of human care by having the opportunity to speak with a Holocaust survivor named Henry Greenbaum. Greenbaum spoke to us about terrible experiences he faced by Nazi oppression, and emphasized to us that the care of others kept him alive as a young boy in Auschwitz. His story was remarkable, and he could not express to us the joy we felt when he was liberated by the United States Army during a death march to what would be his grave.
Overall, we left with a true grasp on the importance of what is to be a nurse in the United States Army. Within the medical centers we witnessed that the seven core Army values come into play in the real world. The skills we learn as cadets in ROTC program will help us become leaders of tomorrow, and train us to become skilled professionals in the medical field. To care for our wounded soldiers is a great responsibility, and whether overseas or on our own shores it is an honor like no other. As ROTC nursing cadets, we will face many challenges over the next four years, the opportunities and knowledge will set us up for success in our future careers in the Army."