In honor of National Nurses Week from May 6 to 12, 2018, Army Medicine is providing a focus on the people, events, and duty that allow us to thank those who contribute so much to medical practice, caring for our wounded and ill, and service to the nation. Maj. Mayamona Diakabana, a public health nurse at Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox, Kentucky, discussed her role and commitment as an Army nurse.

"Army nursing is important to me personally because I get the honor to serve a soldier who is defending our freedom. As a medical and surgical nurse in my earlier years, it was the best feeling to nurse a soldier or their family member to health," said Diakabana.

Diakabana has been an Army nurse or nursing assistant for 17 years.

Explaining her commitment to Army nursing, Diakabana said, "I have been a registered nurse for 13 years. Prior to completing my nursing degree, I was a certified nursing assistant level I and II for 4 years, in which I worked as a part of a multidisciplinary team to deliver comprehensive nursing care to those we cared for.

"I have had several moments when I knew for sure I was called to the nursing profession," Diakabana said.

"As a 21-year-old who was about to graduate out of nursing school, I was exploring several opportunities that would serve multiple purposes like taking care of patients and doing it in the best enterprise.

"I read often about military nurses, and Army nursing seemed very interesting, in respect to providing me with a great career to serve, as well as educational and leadership opportunities," Diakabana said.

The significance of such a role consists of a wide range of functional areas. "Caring for patients has gotten complex due to patients having multiple health problems at any given point," said Diakabana.

As an Army Public Health Nurse, she said, her roles include mitigating disease and injury through management of individuals diagnosed with any number of communicable diseases. Equally important is the role of the public health nurse in prevention programs such as tobacco or alcohol cessation and helping individuals make quit attempts and promotion of healthy lifestyles.

"We provide education daily promoting health and responding to emerging health threats within our footprints," she said.

But it doesn't stop there. Army nurses not only have to manage care in the traditional healthcare environment … they also possess battlefield expertise that most in the same field does not.

"Day to day activities provide us with the needed skills in a Military Treatment Facility or battlefield environment, where usually we'll operate under duress and extreme conditions," Diakabana said.

Army nurses also play a critical role as leaders and teachers. "As an Army nurse, we are leaders from the moment we are commissioned and that leadership further expands as we grow into our profession," Diakabana said.

"We mentor subordinates and peers and we have senior leaders who constantly mentor us, which often doesn't occur as much with our civilian counterparts," Diakabana said.

Diakabana described moments when she knew for sure she was called to the nursing profession. Providing comprehensive, holistic nursing care uplifted her because she knew she was helping others.

She appreciated that sometimes her patients returned to thank her. "It is humbling when your patient returns to the facility after recovery to thank you for taking care of them," Diakabana said.

Diakabana also being an Army Nurse commanded respect from the civilian sector. "I have several colleagues and college friends who have worked in different capacities within the civilian sector, and they are awed by military nurses and the roles in which we partake," Diakabana said.

The Army Nurse Corps puts nurses on a career path to teach the nursing and leadership skills that are required to execute and complete any mission, anywhere in the world. They exemplify the meaning of duty, honor and service.