By Capt. Colton Crawford / Eastern Washington University Assistant Professor of Military ScienceSeptember 5, 2019
Summers during college usually invoke images of beaches, seeing old friends, or perhaps even working a summer job. As members of Eastern Washington University's Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Nursing program, summers are much different, much more challenging, and much more rewarding.
Cadets Sarah Mullen and Josiah Bryan successfully completed the U.S. Army's Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. NSTP is a competitive internship program where Cadets train with Army Nurse Corps Officers in Military Medical Centers, giving them work experience unlike any other, and usually their first exposure of working in a military medical facility. These experiences serve as an introduction to military healthcare, practices, organizational structures, and other nuanced cultural aspects not typically seen in civilian hospitals.
The one-on-one clinical experience the Cadets took part in fosters direct mentorship with an experienced set of Army Nurse Corps Officers with different clinical specialties. Facilities participating in the NSTP typically have three to five Cadets at a given time, which helps in establishing a professional network in their cohort. In addition to this, Cadets also get experience working with their future enlisted counterparts, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Army doctors. Collectively, the NSTP serves as the premiere training program for ROTC Cadets going into the Army as a Registered Nurse.
Mullen completed her NSTP experience at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the nation's capital. This hospital is a world-renowned medical facility boasting over 100 clinics and is the first destination in the United States for the wounded, ill, and injured from global conflicts. She completed 120 hours of work experience in the Maternal-Child Health Department, and received an outstanding rating from her Nurse Supervisor. During her time in Washington D.C., she was able to take a tour of the Pentagon and several other national monuments and museums in the area.
"Two aspects that stood out to me during the internship were the hands-on clinical experience with the significant amount of civilian patients integrated into the military healthcare system, as well as the cohesiveness of the Civilian-Military workforce that provided that care," said Mullen.
Bryan worked at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center based at Fort Bliss, Texas. He completed 156 hours of work experience in the Emergency Department while working alongside four other Cadets. Prior to attending the NSTP, Cadet Bryan had brief experiences working in the Emergency Department while in Nursing school, but his time there confirmed to him that it is a focus area that he would like to eventually specialize in. He was able to take some time for himself during the NSTP and visit the White Sands National Monument.
In reflection of his time at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and as member of the EWU ROTC program, Bryan stated, "NSTP truly provided me a unique and rewarding work experience, an exposure to the military medical culture, and most importantly, gave me personal confirmation of my professional goals."
Both Cadets are looking forward to becoming Army Nurse Corps officers, after graduation from Eastern Washington University's ROTC nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination -- Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). After passing the NCLEX Cadets Mullen and Bryan will begin their military career by attending follow on medical training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The EWU ROTC program has been training Cadets since 1952 and currently has 16 Cadets enrolled in its nursing program. Check out the links below for more information on the EWU Army ROTC Nursing Program!