HONOLULU, Hawaii -- There are many reasons why one might choose nursing as a profession. Nurses make great pay, they have great benefits, and they get to wear scrubs to work - just to name a few.
1st Lt. Carolyn Rice, Tripler Army Medical Center Labor & Delivery nurse staff, has found nursing as more than just a job. - "I feel that this is my calling, not from any big stand out experience, but instead from the day to day things that happen," said Rice. "In the small moments of comforting, reassuring, and teaching my patients."
Since Rice's sophomore year of high school, she has felt called to nursing and worked at a nearby nursing home as a Certified Nurses Assistant.
"I found that I enjoyed even the simplest most mundane tasks of nursing like giving a bed bath or helping a patient up to the bathroom; it gave me the opportunity to provide comfort and dignity to someone who needed extra help," Rice said.
In 2014, Rice graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and then started a career with the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
"I think our biggest difference as Army nurses versus civilian nurses is that we (Army nurses) have to keep not only our patients but also ourselves ready for whatever the needs of the Army are," explained Rice. "This means we have to stay physically fit and mentally healthy at all times; in the military medical system, we also have to take our (Physical Training) PT test and qualify with weapons as well. We have the same requirements as regular Army Soldiers."
As an Army nurse, Rice started out as a staff nurse at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the wounded warrior care floor. Now Rice works as a labor and delivery nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center.
"The Army continually helps me to be flexible and adapt to a variety of settings," said Rice. "Each role has given me a wide array of experiences and helped me grow as a nurse and an officer. I (also) got my expert field medical badge which was a fun way to work on field medical skills."
"Army nurses definitely support the mission of readiness," explained Rice. "We keep the force 'ready to fight' by keeping Soldiers and families well taken care of."