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You just can't make "This Stuff" up.....

Nurses Article   (53,026 Views 22 Replies 1,289 Words)
by airwaynurse airwaynurse (Member) Member

airwaynurse has 22 years experience and specializes in Critical Care, Flight Nursing.

2 Articles; 5,303 Profile Views; 20 Posts

I am proud to be a male nurse. It is my calling. It just took me a long time to hear it. I was a demolition expert in the Army and went to a medic course just to help me get promoted. Boy was I surprised. I took to the medical world like a duck to water and dove in all the way. Twenty- two years and still going strong but I absolutely love to look back and recapture the wonder of the call and the passion that it created in me. I love to share my experience, teach, coach and encourage others: colleagues or patients. I am a NURSE.

You just can't make "This Stuff" up.....

Male Nurse Adventures Part 1....

I first entered healthcare in 1989 while on active duty in the Army. I was a demolition specialist. I went to the Special Operations Medical Sergeant's Course because I was attracted by the mission: "operate in third world countries, winning hearts and minds through education & service to underserved and oppressed populations." Keep in mind that I was extremely used to "being in the field" four seasons, around the clock for days and weeks at the time. I was protecting my country "from enemies; foreign and domestic." I really enjoyed my soldier life. I really could not explain this medical call to me but I had to go and see what it was about.

My trip out to San Antonio at Ft. Sam Houston was for a yearlong study of medicine. I had no prior medical knowledge to amount to anything. Just barely first aid and CPR from my Red Cross lifeguard days. This particular Army school liked that part the best in its attendees; so "you don't have any bad habits to unlearn." The didactics that I encountered and the skills that I was taught still serve me today though that has obviously been a while ago. As many endeavors in life go, I had no idea what was going to happen as I began this journey. It was life changing in so many ways that to think on it now it remains a fascination that I will always carry with me. Never lose your wonder at life and all its possibilities....

SOMED began by the love of medicine. The first 8 weeks or so we completed EMT-basic and sat for the national registry. The fast paced class was attached to about 40 hours a week of outside reading and study. Immersed in the Merck manual and about a half-dozen other medical books we tested every week on a different subject. I was on fire though and loved the things that I was learning. Our hands-on skills were centered on Advanced Trauma Life Support. That is doctor stuff, but in the third world, far removed from support from home, it is quite helpful for those skills to be known and practiced as the need arises.

As my medical knowledge grew and I moved about in this new world that had opened up to me I began meeting highly skilled and knowledgeable doctors, physician assistants, medics and nurses. The nurses were Army Nurse Corp nurses and male (nothing against females, I love them!). I began to fashion the idea that I might make a good nurse. I met the lady that would be my future wife at this time and actually began thinking about settling down, getting married and having children. Through some Army connections that I had developed I applied to the Army's LPN school and was accepted. That year long school, with great clinical opportunities provided by Brooke Army Medical Center, allowed me to experience many different facets of nursing, and particularly, where men fit into the delivery of excellent nursing care. To be exposed to great Army Nurse Corp nurses was certainly one of the highlights of my experience. Excellence by both male and female mentors led to my desire to become a registered nurse. I couldn't see myself doing anything else! Who knew......

In the army, LPNs worked in all areas of the hospital: ICUs, Critical care, ED, Burn Unit, Etc. I was assigned to the MICU upon graduation from LPN school. The unit was, of course, direct patient care with LPNs working under the supervision of RNs. The LPN could essentially do everything that the RN could with the exception of IV push medications and shooting hemodynamics with Swan-Ganz catheters. It was a great work environment to learn critical care! Hemodynamics, ventilators, vasoactive drips were all in use and managed by the nurse (RN or LPN) at the bedside. The depth of my training at SOMED had given me a firm foundation in pathophysiology; now I was learning to think like a NURSE!

During the early years of army life, I had discovered the Army's Education Center. Lots of distance learning opportunities (before the internet came along) I had done most of the prerequisites for any college specialty over the years. I had about 80 hours of credit with an excellent GPA. I had taken CLEP tests for some and traditional classes for others. Then I ran across a nurse that told me about the Regents Program (now Excelsior). I began that program while I was working in the MICU and it was tailor-made for an independent adult learner like me. In two years I was a Registered Nurse!

I had gotten out of the army about 5 or 6 months prior to sitting my boards. I worked as an agency LPN for the army on the weekends. My full time job was as a civilian contractor at SOMED. It was absolutely unbelievable that I had returned to where it all started for me five years earlier. I had always loved to teach and had once thought that I would be a History teacher. Now I was teaching medical subjects and BLS, ACLS and PALS, field trauma skills. It was a dream come true for me and a chance to further my own knowledge and love for medicine and nursing while helping others build their fire. The last year in the army I had been a staff nurse (LPN) in the SICU. That job required us to rotate in and out of the PACU that was attached to the SICU. I spent the next 20 years in those areas: SICU and PACU. I finally went for certification as a CCRN about 15 years ago and spent 12 years as a flight nurse in helicopter transport. The wonder has never ceased.....it has waxed and waned at times, but I am a nurse! I nurse on...

Whether I am teaching a crowd of healthcare professionals about American Heart stuff or patients and their families about disease management and prevention, I get to teach every day! I also get to mentor young and new nurses every day. I really have an affinity for new nurse grads that are in their second career (like I was once long ago). Some of them are looking for job security or something like that; others are like I was: just looking when they discovered the call. The call of nursing, the wonder and awe of life and the service of others are the hallmark of those nurses. Then it is easy to say, "I don't always love my job, and I don't always love the people I work with or those I serve, but I am a nurse."

Nursing is, therefore, not a job but a calling. It is 24/7 365. I am always a nurse even when I am not on my JOB. Soldiers are like that: you are always a soldier even when you are off duty. Like some soldiers, some nurses probably have a touch of PTSD. That is a bold statement but I believe it is true. But the grace that leads to the calling leads to the coping, the healing, the learning, the teaching and the encouraging..... after all:

I am a Nurse...and by golly people like me! Nurse On!

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

5,192 Posts; 45,948 Profile Views

Also, "thank you for your service".

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jaycam has 2 years experience as a RN.

4 Articles; 459 Posts; 13,882 Profile Views

Thank you for your service. My family has a long history of serving and I have mad respect for those who make sure we get ours home.

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airwaynurse has 22 years experience and specializes in Critical Care, Flight Nursing.

2 Articles; 20 Posts; 5,303 Profile Views

Great work! armygirl2013! Congratulations to you and your perseverance! Thanks for your service as well!

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83 Posts; 1,883 Profile Views

I would love to join the military after I receive my BSN! I'm trying to get all the information I can. My number one worry is that I have a family and don't want to deploy often. If anyone has any advice/ information on the best route to join army/ navy/ Air Force as an officer and Nurse, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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6 Posts; 596 Profile Views

Yes thank you for your service! My son will be graduating from college soon and is going full time Army. I have been a nurse for 30 years. It sounds like you have taken the ropes, and through experience and life, have come out on top. I would love to have you on my team!

After 30 years of hospice and that type of nursing, I am now focused on wellness. The neat thing about nursing, is that there are so many avenues, like your story tells, that one can go down and explore. Certified Health Coaching is one of those and it's rewarding. I wish you the best in all your endeavors...and thanks again for your service!

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Roy Hanson has 36 years experience and specializes in as above.

211 Posts; 6,405 Profile Views

once a nurse, always a nurse. After military experience, Fly boys, I retired becoming an RN. Military teaches discipline and not letting your prejudices get in the way..just help them. We also know how to talk to the brass, respectfully but with conviction. It works.

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justDebi has 25 years experience.

2 Posts; 847 Profile Views

Thank you for your service to our country and to our awesome profession!

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Roy Hanson has 36 years experience and specializes in as above.

211 Posts; 6,405 Profile Views

in the years of being a nurse, & military I am amused how our venicular has changed. Being of Service to our country, or being in an awesome profesion, is over rated, I just do it.

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NursesRmofun is a ASN, RN and specializes in Registered Nurse.

1,239 Posts; 13,446 Profile Views

Thank you for your service! Nurse on!

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LessValuableNinja has 8 years experience and specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance.

754 Posts; 5,385 Profile Views

I liked the general nature of the article, but I'll admit I'm a little confused about the specifics.

You were a demolition specialist, then went to SFAS, then SFQC, became an 18D, then went to (guessing by the timeline) 91B school, then 91C school? That's a rather unusual progression.

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