Future Army nurses spend time at WBAMC
August 3, 2012
FORT BLISS, TEXAS --For eight weeks this summer, nurses at William Beaumont Army Medical Center are getting a glimpse of the Army's future.
Fifteen Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps senior nurse cadets from universities across the country -- including John Hopkins, University of Maine and Norwich University in Vermont -- were selected to complete a Nurse Summer Training Program at WBAMC.
"I want to take care of veterans and Soldiers," said Priscilla Perry, a nurse cadet from New Mexico State University.
Juggling the demands of being an ROTC cadet and nursing student, Perry said the hands-on experience from the clinical elective is more than anything she could get from an elective course in the civilian sector.
"It's more one on one with a nurse. In a civilian setting you have seven students running around with one nurse. Here nurses have that time to teach you. And it's 120-plus hours more of clinical time that I get more than other nursing students," said Perry who was spending a day of her clinical in the WBAMC Intensive Care Unit.
The first rotation of nurse cadets at WBAMC finished a four-week rotation in June. The second rotation of seven nurse cadets will complete the program by mid August.
The NSTP at WBAMC is a four week, paid clinical elective for Army ROTC cadets. Nursing students are introduced to Army Medicine and the roles and responsibilities of an Army Nurse Corps officer.
Maj. Marta Artiga, NSTP coordinator and chief of the support branch of the education division at WBAMC, said the most important aspect of the program are the nurse preceptors -- Army and civilian nurses at the hospital who volunteer to mentor the young cadets.
"I give them everything I possibly can," said Patricia Luna, a registered nurse in the WBAMC ICU and preceptor for the NSTP. Most questions from nurse cadets, said Luna, center on the technical aspect of the job.
"One thing I stress, though, is to be a patient advocate," Luna said.
Artiga said nurse cadets are usually eager, excited and motivated to work and do well in the clinical. Preceptors are there to guide and teach them.
"These cadets are our future," Artiga said. "We should invest as much as we can. Everyone wants to show them the future -- an open window to the Army."