Nobody in my extended family was ever involved in health care and I'm still the only one. I started college as a biology major but quit after two years of aimless purpose and joined the Army. It was the Vietnam War era so it was either join for good training selection or get drafted and do what the Army wanted! With my science background, the Army channeled me to Medic training where I excelled, graduating at the top of the class. I was then selected (stopping orders to Vietnam) for the advanced "Clinical Specialist" course (old MOS 91C20) at Madigan Army Hospital at Ft. Lewis. When I completed the course, all the students took the WA LPN exam. My Army duty was initially spent in stateside Army hospitals working in critical care units & the E.D. where I took patient care assignments equal to the RN Nurse Corps officers. I also worked overseas in a medical battalion clinic where the docs taught me fun stuff like interpreting X-rays, minor surgery and suturing. I ran "Sick Call" triage for the infantry grunts where I evaluated & diagnosed minor complaints and prescribed many non-controlled meds. Anything questionable I encountered was referred to the Medical Corps officer. When I was discharged from the Army, I found out that California recognized my 91C20 training plus military service connected work experience as equivalent to a diploma RN school so I took the state boards. I easily passed the RN boards and worked as an RN, mostly in critical care, during my ensuing college years. It was a great paying part-time & summer job for a college student! Although I occasionally encountered skeptical views from university educated RNs, I always proved myself to be competent. I completed a pre-med biology degree with almost straight "A" performance but didn't get accepted to med school because my first two years of college had a mediocre record. What to do next??? I was always fascinated with the instrumentation in ICU & CCU, I loved working with the cardiac monitors, respirators, IV pumps, etc. Then I found out there was a department in the hospital with loads of instruments - THE LAB! So I returned to college for a B.S. in Medical Technology. I grew up as a Navy brat and my father was a career officer, so I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. After completing a Health Management MS degree, I became a Navy Medical Service Corps officer and I just recently retired as a Commander from 9 years active & 15 years reserve service. I worked a number of years in lab management, hospital administration and later with lab information systems. My nursing career was revived about 10 years ago when I took a position in a QA/PI/RM department as a quality data analyst at a major medical center in California. Within a year, I became a fully functioning staff member performing all tasks within the department. I recently moved to Washington and I currently working as a Sr. Clinical Systems Analyst. Unfortunately, my military based RN license does not enjoy reciprocity to Washington. This has been an issue for me as I cannot seem to get an interview for quality related positions in my region. Local hospital policies dictate these positions must be filled by WA RNs while no federal, state, or JCAHO regulatory requirements have this restriction. I can certainly do the work!
Mar 9, '07
I am overwhelmed by your mastery of so many careers. I have been an RN for 40 years and have always worked full time and continue to do so. Although I have a pretty diverse background, I can't even hold a stub of a candle to you. You must be proud of your achievements and I'm inspired to have heard your story. I hope all eventually works out well for you in your new state. Why not consider travel nursing??
Mar 9, '07
Hi Bob. Welcome to Allnurses. Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself.