BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (March 6, 2013) -- A local operating room nurse is lending his much-needed skills to the military. Preston Crider, who works full-time at Trinity Medical Center, took the oath of office Tuesday and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

"I always wanted to be part of the military," said Crider. "But I went to school to be a nurse. When I saw the recruiter outside the operating room one day, it was a message to me from the man upstairs."

Crider, who lives in Hoover, earned his associates degree at Wallace State and his bachelors of science in nursing at Jacksonville State. He worked for a year at Shelby Baptist and has been with Trinity Medical Center for two and a half years.

Crider, 27, is filling a critical need for the Army, said Capt. Rena Barron, of the Birmingham Medical Recruiting Station. "Nurses are an important part of our healthcare team." Barron said. "Finding qualified, specialty nurses is vital to the U.S. Army mission."

In exchange for his military commitment, Crider will receive a $60 thousand bonus paid in installments over three years. Crider will soon begin his military training. "I'm a little nervous, but I am really looking forward to it," he said. Crider will be assigned to the 75th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Gillem, Ga., where he will attend monthly battle assemblies.

His decision was well received by his family, friends and co-workers. "Everyone has been very supportive," Crider said. "My co-workers are really excited for me, they think it's a wonderful idea. Many wish they would have taken advantage of it when they were younger."

Barron said the Army continues to recruit operating room nurses like Crider as well as those in other specialties such as emergency room, critical care, psychiatric nurses and nurse anesthetists. "Soldiers and their families deserve the best healthcare," she said. "We are always looking for talented and dedicated individuals to become a part of this elite team."

Page last updated Wed March 6th, 2013 at 00:00