By Mr. Wesley P Elliott (Army Medicine)May 7, 2014
FORT GORDON, Ga. (May 7, 2014) -- Each year our nation recognizes the dedicated service of our nurses with National Nurses Week, which is observed from May 6 until May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.
U.S. Army Nurses face unique challenges ranging from deployments to leadership positions.
"Nurses week gives us a chance to show appreciation for a trusted profession and recognize all that nurses do for the Army, the military and our families," said Capt. Philipp Carabuena, ED Nurse at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
While in nursing school Carabuena visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Md., and immediately knew he wanted to be an Army nurse.
He knew he wanted to provide medical care for Soldiers and the U.S. Army would allow him to also serve in a wide range of roles in his career.
After recently returning from deployment, Carabuena said, "As a med-surge nurse I worked in the Emergency Department at DDEAMC, but it was a deferent experience going into Afghanistan with a multi-national force at the British 203 Field Hospital."
His unit was initially treating Soldiers brought in from the battlefield but since the U.S. forces were starting to pull out of Afghanistan the majority of the patient population was Afghani nationals, Afghani Security Forces and children.
"We would see more critical injuries in the Afghani patients compared to the Soldiers and Marines we were caring for, so we would have a lot of bi-lateral amputations and severed limbs from improvised explosive devices that exploded."
During this time he was able to work in the ED and the Intensive Care Unit and saw procedures and injuries he wouldn't normally have seen stateside.
While in Afghanistan, the ceremony to promote Carabuena to Captain was interrupted because of high category casualties that were arriving in the ED and he was brought into the operating room to run the rapid infuser which infuses units of blood quickly into a patient.
"A lot of people are afraid to join the Army but it's only because they don't know what to expect," said Carabuena. "When I deployed, it was difficult for my mom at first, but like when I joined the Army, she came to accept it when I explained what to expect."
"My short time in the Army has been a pretty unique experience and I'll never forget that."
Carabuena has served as the aide to the DDEAMC commander and was recently nominated for a position as the Army Nurse Corps Chief intern. He is hoping to someday be selected for a command position.
"As an Army nurse you get to travel and you have a variety of other responsibilities besides being a nurse both as a Soldier and as an officer. You have additional duties and responsibilities that a nurse on the outside wouldn't have."
Currently having a nurse corps officer as the U.S. Army Surgeon General also gives Carabuena hope that nurses can make a difference at all levels and can perform outside of their normal positions as nurses.
"If nurses have the right guidance, experience, and chances to grow as leaders, we can share what we have to offer with the rest of medical command and the Army."