Aric Balahadia's life is exactly where he wants it. He has a career as an emergency department nurse for a large Veterans Affairs hospital and he has just joined the U.S. Army Reserve. "I've always loved emergency medicine," Balahadia said. "And, I wanted to gain experience, taking care of a different population of patients," Balahadia said about joining the Army. Balahadia attended the College of Staten Island where he earned a two-year degree, following that with completing his RN online at the Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona. He has worked at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Campus, and the Staten Island University Hospital. Today Balahadia is a nurse in the Emergency Department at the VA New York Harbor Medical Center, Manhattan Campus. "I became a nurse because nursing has more autonomous duties," Balahadia added. "Doctors don't have time for as much interaction. I feel nursing is a big part of care. Working in the ED gives me a chance to work with as many patients needing acute care as possible. I get to see and do everything. The variation is limitless in the kinds of patients [we see]. We are the first person the patient meets. Lots of times the nurse is the one who makes decisions." Joining the military will broaden his horizons Balahadia said. He wants to further his skills in the job he has and the Army offers a lot of classes. Along with taking care of active duty military while in the Army Reserve Balahadia believes the experience will enhance his understanding of the patients coming into VA. He feels the injuries will become more understandable as he sees it firsthand. Balahadia said he has always felt a desire to serve his country and last November he decided to try. After filling out all the paperwork he found out in April that he was accepted. Balahadia came into the military as a first lieutenant. Along with broadening his nursing skills Balahadia is looking forward to his time in the military to provide him with travel opportunities. "I'm looking forward to a humanitarian mission," Balahadia said. "One of my dreams is to go to a place like Nepal to represent America." Balahadia is waiting for a date to attend the Basic Officer Leadership Course in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He has yet to be assigned to a unit, but expects that he will be part of the 865th Combat Support Hospital in Utica, N.Y. Until then he will continue to work full time at his VA job. As far as Balahadia is aware he is the only member of the Army Reserve working in the ED. "Aric is fantastic," said Cheryl Mackey, RN, MSN, Patient Care Team Coordinator, ER & EHU VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. "I am very supportive of him joining the U.S. Army Reserve. It's great for him as a person to have this military experience and it's great because the military experience can help him relate to our patients." For more information about working as a healthcare provider in the Army Reserve go to www.healthcare.goarmy.com and find a healthcare recruiter near you or call 1-888-710-2769.