FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky – Four college nursing students traded their textbooks in for hospital scrubs to participate in the U. S. Army Nurse Summer Training Program at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, July 5-31.
The students are members of the Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, which provides up to 100% of tuition coverage at more than 1,000 colleges and universities. According to the U.S. Army Cadet Command, each summer, more than 200 Army ROTC cadets with an academic major of nursing are selected for NSTP at one of 20 military hospitals in the United States and abroad.
“The Army Nurse Corps, and the Military Health System as a whole, have an important role in our national defense strategy,” said Army Nurse Lt. Col. Manuel Galaviz, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s assistant deputy commander for nursing, and sponsor of the hospital’s ROTC nurse cadets.
“The MHS provides regular medical and dental care, so service members are in good health and capable of deploying where our nation needs them. Army nurses are also a component of a ready medical force capable of going anywhere our nation needs to establish and sustain healthcare, whether that is in a foxhole or field hospital, or even in support of humanitarian missions.”
The nurse cadets, represent the future of the Army Nurse Corps and NSTP introduces cadets to the Army Medical Department and to the roles and responsibilities of an Army Nurse Corps Officer, Galaviz explained.
“We have a group of four cadets here, who are trying to hone-in their skills and prepare for their senior year of nursing school,” said Army Nurse Capt. Chelsey Freland, assistant coordinator for cadet training at BACH and clinical nurse officer in charge of the hospital’s in-patient unit.
Each cadet was paired with a nurse preceptor, an experienced licensed nurse who is qualified to teach and supervise nursing students. At BACH, the cadets were assigned to one of four main areas in the hospital -- medical-surgical ward, the emergency center, ICU, and labor and delivery -- where they gained more than 140 hours each of clinical nursing experience.
“I’ve been shadowing the nurses on the med-surg floor. I’m getting to see and get hands-on experience in all of the clinical practices I studied at school, said Cadet Josephine Adeola, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Southern University and Agricultural and Medical College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In the hospital’s emergency center, Cadet Jason Kramer, who is working on his BSN at Lewis University, near Chicago, said the summer program has helped him determine which area of nursing he’d like to pursue.
“I’ve done one rotation in an ER through school, but it was really short. This is pretty similar to the other experiences I had, but it has solidified that I do like it,” Kramer said.
The Army offers a variety of nursing areas of concentration to choose from including critical care, perioperative, emergency trauma, public health, mental health, and gynecological/obstetrics, as well as advance practice opportunities as nurse practitioners, certified nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives.
In addition to their rotations at Blanchfield, the cadets also visited the Fort Campbell-based 531st Hospital Center to see how the Army delivers life-saving health care in deployed environments.
The 531st Hospital Center is a mobile healthcare unit of medical experts and equipment that can be deployed to provide advanced care overseas and in the United States. Its subordinate units include the 586th Field Hospital, 175th Surgical Detachment, 41st Medical Detachment and 431st Intermediate Care Ward Detachment. The team provides services such as intensive and intermediate medical care, surgery, dental and pharmacy, laboratory services, and others.
At the conclusion of NSTP, the Cadets will return to their schools for the fall term.
"I am so glad I got the opportunity to come here and learn. We have done clinicals back at school, but having the opportunity to train with Army nurses in a military hospital was so beneficial," said Cadet Faith Mull, who attends Charleston Southern University, in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The U.S. Army Cadet Command partners with universities to recruit, educate, develop, and inspire senior ROTC cadets.
To learn more about ROTC college scholarship and training opportunities visit https://armyrotc.army.mil/