A hundred years ago, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to give women the right to vote, and on Aug. 26, the nation recognizes that right with the annual observance Women's Equality Day.
To honor women who have broken down barriers and are successful in their service, Army Medicine is putting a spotlight on Soldiers who are making a difference, like Fort Lee's own Lt. Col. (P) Tameka Bowser, Kenner Army Health Clinic deputy commander for nursing. She is a healthcare professional who serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Department and Army Nurse Corp officer.
A single mother of two, Bowser has served in the Army for 22 years. She pursued her dream to be a family nurse practitioner after an overnight hospital stay when she was in high school.
“As a patient at that time, I realized the ‘nurse’ was the one who provided me care, making me comfortable and ensuring that I understood the plan of care,” said Bowser. “I was offered an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship as a high school senior and decided to give military life a try. It was quite a challenge mentally and physically, but I truly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment and comradery. I planned to stay for one to two assignments to fulfill my four year commitment, but 22 years later, I’m still here.”
During her years in the military, she said she has been inspired by the positive changes for women she’s seen.
“I have had the opportunity to witness the leadership of numerous military and civilian leaders, many of them female,” Bowser said. “As I transitioned into motherhood, these leaders became even more inspiring. Early in my career as a single officer, I was sheltered from the challenges of balancing home life and work life. Now as a mother, reflecting on their resilience gives me the drive to keep pressing on.”
Bowser receives her inner drive and energy from surrounding herself with women of greatness.
“In my youth, I had hard-working grandmothers and a mother that never gave up on her pursuit of a college degree,” she said. “My mother graduated from college when I was in junior high school. They are the foundation of my work ethic and appreciation of education.”
That foundation – along with professional examples she has seen throughout her career – has made her the officer she is today. Since March 2020, she voluntarily assumed the role as the Kenner COVID-19 hotline nurse. She mans the phone 24/7 and patiently answers concerns and gives guidance to many Fort Lee community beneficiaries.
“The leadership team at Kenner, including myself, has been adamant that our beneficiaries are provided a central point for all COVID questions, and the hotline has been that resource,” she explained. “I am doing my best to stay abreast of the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention including our military agency’s to provide our patients, families and command teams the best guidance possible to keep everyone safe and healthy.”
As the country observes Women’s Equality Day, Bowser said it is important to remember that opportunities are endless.
“Today, our voice counts and my vote counts,” she said. “My contributions to my organization and society are not minimized due to my gender.”