SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The Brigade Nurse Counselors from ROTC's 2nd Brigade continued to build on the mission and vision of U.S. Army Cadet Command by partnering with university officials from multiple schools of nursing during a Centers of Influence visit to Brooke Army Medical Center June 11-12.

A key objective of the visit was to increase the understanding of the Nurse Summer Training Program, an internship that Cadets complete between their junior and senior year. During this 28 day internship, Cadets complete over 150 clinical hours while being introduced to the roles and responsibilities of an Army Nurse Corps officer, as well as the diverse capabilities of the Army Medical Department.

USACC Nursing Cadets from all over the nation compete to attend NSTP, making it a highly sought after internship. NSTP provides Cadets the opportunity to work one on one with an Army nurse at a military treatment facility and plays a key role in the development of successful ANC Officers.

Seven representatives from the University of Massachusetts Boston, Rutgers University, St. Bonaventure University, The College at Brockport State University of New York, Roberts Wesleyan College, and Pennsylvania State University attended the two day event. Additionally, two ROTC Recruiting Operations Officers from Slippery Rock University and The College at Brockport State University of New York and two Brigade Nurse Counselors from ROTC's 2nd Brigade were in attendance. The university officials from the SON ranged from Professors of Nursing, Assistant Clinical Professors of Nursing, Associate Deans of Nursing, to Founding Director of Nursing.

The intent of the 2nd Brigade Nurse Counselors was to conduct a culminating learning event for the senior members of the SON within their footprint to showcase the leadership and clinical experiences Army ROTC nursing Cadets receive in a MTF while introducing them to the duties, roles, responsibilities, and expectations of an ANC officer. In order to meet the intent hospital officials showcased BAMC, the Center for the Intrepid, ISR Burn Center, Simulation Center, and the AMEDD Museum focusing specifically on NSTP as the culminating clinical experience for ROTC Nurse Cadets.

Dr. Connie Perkins, Founding Director of Nursing, Saint Bonaventure University said, "Since I did not take the path of ROTC as a college student, going to the inaugural BAMC trip opened by eyes to many things that go into an Army nurse. As an educator, I was thrilled to hear from the cadets about what they gained during their NSTP experience. Going forward, I plan to write curriculum that better aligns with what is required of nurse cadets to encourage them to take advantage of what ROTC offers. This trip's influence will not soon be forgotten."

Nurse faculty members received a command overview of BAMC capabilities from Col. Michael Wirt, Deputy Commanding Officer, as well as tours of the ISR Burn Center, Center for the Intrepid, Simulations Center, and multiple inpatient departments. During their tours they were able to observe and speak to multiple cadets about their experiences, expectations, and how this experience will drive them during their senior year back at their Universities.

"As a nurse educator, the NSTP COI tour of BAMC provided an eye-opening, impressive experience for me, personally and professionally. I came away with an enhanced understanding of what our nursing ROTC student's experience, particularly the skilled level of preceptorship that they are provided during their rotation," said Darlene Clark, Assistant Teaching Professor of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University. "I understand now, on a more well-informed level, that our ROTC students are exposed to leadership training in the healthcare setting that surpasses, in many cases, a senior nursing capstone experience."

The vision of 2nd Brigade's BNCs is that COI visits such as these continue in the future and that Schools of Nursing across the country are able to see first-hand the hard work and dedication their nursing Cadets go through during NSTP. It is through faculty members such as the previously mentioned that we will be able to build stronger relationships between the Schools of Nursing and ROTC to recruit and retain the future of the Army Nurse Corps.