Captains Chris Guenther and Janet Vaughn
Two Army medicine social workers assigned to the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland talk about the rewards of being behavioral health specialists within a military environment.
Capt. Vaughn: I chose the army I started off with JROTC in high school, then once I got to college I realized I wanted to become an office.
Capt. Guenther: Searched out some recruiters and said hey, do you take social workers in the army and they said yeah. I said what do they do? And they began to explain it all to me and I said I want to do that. I want to be a social worker in the army knowing full well that I would get to go with units and deploy with them.
Capt. Vaughn: The teamwork model in the army is great for me, in my, for my perspective. When you think about the docs and everybody who had their own specialty surgeons and dentists and anesthesiologists and, everyone has their own role. They look at everything from their lens. Where social workers, we’re here to look at the whole picture. We’re here to take in all the expertise of everybody else on the team, but take it to a extra step and say how does this apply to that patient, that soldier, and that family?
Capt. Guenther: The discipline and the training you can get as a soldier actually can make you a better clinician. The focus is to do everything you can for the soldier so that they can continue to be a soldier
Capt. Vaughn: As a military social worker I get to just interact with soldiers, get to meet their family and their children. I get to know people on a different level besides them being that soldier, that officer. I get to know them as the human being. There’s no other job that’s better than a military social worker. Why I enjoy the military, I don’t see myself doing anything else for the next 15 years.
Capt. Guenther: Because of the events in the world today you are necessitating that you’re going to be dealing with specific issues, not just with the soldiers again with the families, they have to be brought back together.
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