By Chelsea BauckmanFebruary 1, 2013
Action, adventure, and doing what you love. Those were Cpt. Erica Grant's goals when she enlisted with the Army in 2000.
Currently serving as aide-de-camp for Brig. Gen. (P) Joseph Caravalho Jr., commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Grant is one of the many dedicated members of the Army Nurse Corps who ensure quality and compassionate care as the standard of Army medicine. This February 2 marks the 112th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps. Since 1901, the Army Nurse Corps has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Army, providing care and touching the lives of Soldiers, veterans, and their family members.
Grant was at the end of her junior year of nursing school and was experiencing "burnout" when she attended a job fair held on her college's campus. At the job fair, Grant spoke to a recruiter who piqued her curiosity about serving in the military. She left the job fair and sought out an Army recruiter who helped her select a military occupational specialty in the medical field. After being in the Army for three years as a radiology technologist, she decided to return to school and finish her degree in nursing.
I sat down with Grant to discuss her career as an Army nurse.
Why did you decide to become an Army nurse?
My mother reminded me that over the last thirteen years being a nurse has always been my goal, and after serving for a few months in the Army, I realized that I also love being a Soldier. I used the Army Enlisted Commissioning Program, a competitive program the Army offers, to help me accomplish two things that I love. I really became interested in the nursing profession as a result of my family, who encouraged me to get involved with volunteer work. When I was growing up, my parents, my sister, my aunt, who was also a nurse for 40 years, and I would spend weekends volunteering at nursing homes.
What prompted you to become a nurse?
I always enjoyed nursing ill family members back to health, especially my dad who has suffered a great deal with migraines. He is possibly the reason I am a nurse today. I remember when I was seven, I woke up to a thank you note my dad left me after I stayed up all night nursing him back to health from a migraine that kept him home from work. I remember that day vividly, and it still makes my heart swell with pride.
What is your favorite part about being an Army nurse?
The best part is being able to serve our country's warfighters. To be able to use my knowledge and experience to serve as a member of a team that works tirelessly to save a service member's life is why I love being an Army nurse.
What is your least favorite part about the job?
The most difficult part about being an Army nurse is that I've had patients who weren't going to return home to their loved ones. It's upsetting when all of my knowledge, experience, and dedication could not improve their outcome.
What would you be doing if you weren't an Army nurse?
I would be traveling the world with volunteer mission teams. Bringing first class medical care to underserved people all over the world has always been my true passion.
The Army Nurse Corps and members like Grant are the driving change in support of the Army, Army medicine, and the nursing profession. Happy anniversary to the Army Nurse Corps! We say "thank you" to each and every Army nurse for the dedication and support that they provide to the Army Medicine mission, and we offer a special thank you to Cpt. Grant for taking the time to share her story.