Jessica Buehler: Nurse Case Warrior
By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - While most teenagers are unclear about their career choice, Nurse Case Manager Jessica Buehler says she had a clear vision of where she was headed.

"I went to college straight out of high school to get my nursing degree with the goal of working with kids," Buehler said. "Somewhere along the line, this goal turned into working with the elderly as I worked at a nursing home for several years while I was in college," she added.

Beuhler went on to obtain her Licensed Practical Nursing Degree and worked in a family medicine clinic before getting a position at the psychiatric long term care unit at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin.

As Buehler settled into her position at the VA, she obtained her associate's degree and eventually a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. A short time later she applied for the Nurse Case Management position at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After being hired at the WTB, her passion for supporting the military was crystal clear and the Soldiers in her care have become an extension of her family. A family she says also served and supported the military.

"There is a rapport that you build with your soldiers that makes for better care provided. I've been there for the births of my Soldier's children, deaths of my Soldiers and or their family, co-workers, friends, milestone moments in their or their family's lives. My Soldiers know that they can call me anytime if they need to talk to someone, and I've been there for them for the late night phone calls when they are having a crisis or need help," Buehler said "My grandfather was in the Navy, my father served 36 years in the Army before retiring as a 1st. Sgt. Both of my brothers currently serve in the Army and in the Air Force. My mom was a Sergeant in the Army before getting out to raise us, then went on to be a finance tech serving the National Guard and Army Reserve at Fort McCoy and later at the WTB at Fort Campbell," she added.

Buehler now serves the Community Care Unit at Fort Campbell, a sub-unit of the Warrior Transition Battalion intended for National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers to be able to recover from their injuries at home with their support system. Often times the wounded, ill and injured Soldiers are dealing with complex issues that are so severe, or ill, that they cannot leave home to come to a WTB; typically patients dealing with cancer, severe traumatic brain injuries and or paralyzed. She says by allowing Soldiers to recover at home where they are with their family and support systems, they are providing them greater motivation to complete their healing and return to normalcy in their lives.

During a recent visit to Fort Campbell, Lt. Gen. Nadja West recognized Buehler for her hard work and dedication to the Soldiers assigned to the Community Care Unit.

"I was honored by the recognition from Lt. Gen. West and I'm proud of my work. I told my husband when we got married that he wasn't just marrying me, he was marrying my job, and some days this drives him bonkers, but those are the days when I am reminded of just how much I love my job and the Soldiers that I help," Buehler said. "I try my hardest to keep things together and show little emotion while at work, but on my drive home and after my kids are in bed, I have a chance to reflect on things and my emotions tend to come out a lot then. I wear my heart on my sleeve a lot of the time and am very passionate about my job and the Soldiers that I care for. "