VICENZA, Italy – Nurses Week is celebrated May 6-12 every year and is a time to acknowledge the vital role nurses play in military healthcare. For the last 18 years, Kelli Ranalli has been a part of the nursing profession.
“We moved to Vicenza on my husband’s orders a couple of years ago and I was very fortunate as a military spouse to be hired for a position here at the health clinic,” said Ranalli. “This is my first Department of Defense position.”
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ranalli is a Registered Nurse specializing in critical care.
“I chose the nursing profession so I could have an impact on people’s lives,” she said. “Nursing is one of the most professionally and personally rewarding careers. Not many professions have the ability to connect with patients on such an intimate level. We often meet our patients under difficult or life-changing circumstances. It is getting to know your patient very quickly and hopefully having a positive impact on their lives.”
Her most memorable nursing experience occurred while working in Saudi Arabia in a specialty hospital.
“I was to receive a patient straight from the operating room to the cardiac intensive care unit,” said Ranalli. “I see the bed being wheeled towards my cubicle but could not see my patient on the bed. On closer inspection, I see that I had been assigned a neonatal intensive care unit patient. The baby was so small and fragile with multiple IV lines, chest tubes, and a breathing tube. I nearly had my own cardiac event as my background is in adult cardiothoracic ICU. I received the report and pressed on. This baby needed me and this two-day-old little person helped me overcome my fear of pediatric nursing.”
Ranalli’s current position involves providing for the beneficiaries of U.S. Army Health Clinic Vicenza.
“This may include acute/chronic issues, preventative health measures, well-child visits, and immunizations,” she said.
National Nurses Week ends on May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing. She became well-known while taking care of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War in the mid-1800s.
“Nursing is a great and rewarding career,” said Ranalli. “You can start on one path and travel down several different ones while still being a nurse. Not many careers have that diversity. You will always be employed in nursing. It is not a career that can be replaced with a machine. It’s challenging, it’s rewarding and impactful.”