Tessa Baptista's job is to have a personal relationship with wounded Soldiers at Fort Leavenworth. She is a case manager for the Warrior Transition Unit and coordinates appointments for the physical, mental and social health of her patients.

"I enjoy my job because I find it very satisfying to help service members and to make sure they are in a good place when they leave us or stay (in the Army)," she said.

Baptista, who has been a registered nurse working in emergency rooms for 14 years, first heard about the initiative while working at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"When I heard about the WT initiative, I thought it would help the service member more," she said. "In the ER, you treat one time; this gives you more contact. You get to help on a personal level. Because they are with you months on end, you become very close to them."

There are currently 21 warriors in transition and two case workers - Baptista and Capt. Rochelle Goodin.

They meet face-to-face with each Soldier at least once a week, Baptista said.

Her primary job is coordinating care through the system and serving as the liaison between the Soldier and the providers.

"I also address psychological issues and family concerns, and help seek appropriate services for these," she said.

The amount of time a Soldier spends in the transition unit varies anywhere from three months to a year, depending on the severity of the injuries, she said.

"Sometimes I'm happy when they leave. When they are happy, then that makes me happy," Baptista said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16