I joined the Army for many different reasons. I was really interested in the educational opportunities. Also, it's exciting to be able to move to different places and different hospitals.
I was very surprised when I stepped into an Army hospital. They're very nice facilities, very comfortable facilities. We do computer charting, we have state-of-the-art technology, lots of things that I didn't see in a civilian hospital.
We are right on the cutting edge with research. I learn something new every time I come to work. I work in the Intensive Care [Unit], so my patient ratio is one-to-one and I am able to take advantage of spending more time with my patients and with their families. I get to help them understand what's going on and help them be comfortable with all the procedures.
On my floor, we perform self-scheduling. I can look at what I want to do in the next couple of months and try to schedule myself around that. I just need to make sure I work 40 hours a week. You know, I work 12 hours, so I work actually less days a week than most nurses do on an eight-hour shift, so I do actually have quite a bit of free time.
And then, of course, I do have 30 days of leave. My husband and I do a lot of things together. He took me to the World Skeet Shoot to get a feel of what it was really about. While we were out there, we saw the Army team and that got me pumped up to try to be on the Army team. We go shoot skeet probably twice a week. I really enjoy it. We play golf. We also spend time with our dog and take a little time for ourselves - go out to dinner, try to have a little romantic time.
If you are a nurse or even considering going into the military, I would recommend researching it and to take advantage of what you can. The Army will help you with continuing education, a better salary, better patient ratios and great travel opportunities.
There certainly is a sense of duty and patriotism I feel. There are a lot of Army Officers, a lot of enlisted men, and even nurses that gave their life so that we can live the life that we live now.
One of the reasons why I chose the Army was the Army values. They have definitely impacted my life. I do feel like I have a greater sense of honor in our country, and just being an American.
I feel like I've taken more pride in myself and trying to take more advantage of the opportunities given to me to make myself a more educated, more disciplined, better person.