SEMBACH, Germany -- The U.S. Army Nurse Corps anniversary on Feb. 2 celebrates Army nurses who have served honorably in a variety of situations, from war to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, as well as in times of peace.
The nurse corps was formally recognized on Feb. 2, 1901.
For Capt. Ashley Jefferson-Watts, a clinical nurse and officer in charge of the primary care clinic at U.S. Army Health Clinic Grafenwoehr, being a nurse is something she has wanted to do since she was in seventh grade.
“I wanted to be an Army nurse specifically, to help and heal our warfighters and their families,” said Jefferson-Watts. “To know that you can make a difference in your comrades and their family’s lives brings me a sense of peace and happiness. People may not always remember what you said, but they definitely remember how you made them feel.”
She is approaching 10 years of service in the Army, having commissioned in as a second lieutenant in May 2011. Her first duty station was Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.
“I was nervous to one, move so far away from family, but two, it was my first time working as a nurse,” said Jefferson-Watts. “I would say that even though I was nervous, the more experienced nurses took me under their wing, and prepared and guided me to become the nurse that I am today.”
Over time, the Army’s mission has grown broader, including more joint health care delivery systems, and yet there has been one constant – the devotion of Army nurses to providing excellent nursing care.
“I remember I had a patient that was in the hospital for a while,” said Jefferson-Watts. “She had no family and was alone. I would check on her every day and just sit, laugh, and talk with her despite why she was there. Fast-forward some time. I was stationed in the 44th Medical Brigade at Fort Bragg and I ran across a Soldier in uniform and she looked so familiar. I stopped to have a conversation with her to try and figure out where I knew her from. Well, she was actually the patient that I had spent so much time with. What she remembered is how I made her feel.”
Jefferson-Watts added that her experience as an Army Nurse has been versatile and afforded her the opportunity for professional and personal growth.
For more information on becoming an Army nurse visit: https://www.goarmy.com/amedd/nurse.html.