Soldier Life
Army Position:
Fort Sam Houston, TX
1st Lieutenant

When it comes to pursuing professional and personal goals, Lieutenant Estes likes to shoot for the stars, which is why she joined the Army. She credits the Army for helping her become "a more educated, more disciplined, better person." She hopes to some day make the Army skeet shooting team.

My name is Savannah Estes. I'm a First Lieutenant and I'm a 66-Hotel which is a Medical Surgical Nurse. My MOS also has an identifier, 8-Alpha, which is a Critical Care Nurse.

I'm stationed at Ft. Sam Houston and that's in San Antonio, Texas. I was a Critical Care Nurse in the civilian world before I joined the Army.

When I joined the Army I got a bonus. Also, I took a short course, which is an ICU course. You also can take an OR course, or an ER course. The Army gave me credit for when I was a nurse. I came into the Army as a Second Lieutenant, but I already had a year of experience, so I actually got promoted to a First Lieutenant in six months rather than 18 months.

The path I chose at first was to be a Medical Surgical Nurse. Then I went to school to become a Critical Care Nurse and I wanted to become a Nurse Anesthetist. But you don't have to go the clinical route, you can do an administrative route, too.

There are quite a few differences being a civilian versus an Army nurse. Of course, I have 30 days paid leave in the Army. I have a better patient ratio in my intensive care. I have lots of opportunities for continuing education, which in the civilian world, you pretty much have to do most of your training on your own time.

While in the Army, I've received my Trauma Nurse Critical Care certification, my TNCC, also ACLS, which is Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification. There is so much more camaraderie between the nurses and the doctors in the Army than in the civilian world.

I feel like I can make suggestions to the doctors and they will listen to me. Also, there's a lot more teamwork. Everybody is ready to help you out, get things done. I enjoy that very much and actually, we go out together. In the Army, you have an opportunity to move up a lot quicker than you would in the civilian world.

Actually, I think I make more money in the Army than I did as a civilian, plus I have extensive medical benefits. I enjoy the people I work with. I enjoy the opportunities that I get in the Army as far as education and chances to travel. Since the short time that I've been in the Army, it's really become a part of who I am. I'm proud of it.