By Capt. Annie Case
I am a Navy Nurse Corps officer, recently assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) as Quality Management Department head.
On July 1, 2016, I promoted to the rank of Navy captain as a Navy Nurse Corps officer, and transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka to become director, Nursing Services.
I first became interested in a career with Navy Medicine during a recruiter presentation in college. It was the Navy demonstration there that got my interest. The officer basically told us that we do get opportunities to travel and go on assignments, but that we need to wear a uniform and be part of a larger organization with a mission greater than ourselves. I was intrigued.
I’m the youngest of five girls raised on a pig farm in rural Wisconsin with the value of hard work, strong work ethics, and family. We were all pushed to go to college and contribute to the world as a whole. In the words of Thomas Edison, ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ I’ve dressed in overalls, and I know what real work is and am not afraid to engage in it.
I graduated from Lancaster High School in 1987, and joined the Navy via the Bachelor Degree Completion Program in Nov. 1990. while in nursing school at Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota. I commissioned in 1992 as an ensign upon graduation from Winona State’s Bachelor of Science Nursing program.
Since joining the Nurse Corps, I’ve served in a variety of positions, such as perioperative nurse; staff nurse; division officer and department head; assistant director for the Directorate of Surgical Services (DSS); department head for Quality Management department; acting director for DSS and Directorate of Nursing Service; acting executive officer and acting commanding officer.
I’ve been around the world serving at Naval Medical Center Oakland, California; Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD); U.S. Naval Hospital Keflavik, Iceland; U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan, with a deployment to the Philippines; Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, California; back to NMCSD; U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka; NHB; and now back to Naval Hospital Yokosuka again.
I was able to attend grad school for my Masters in Nursing, Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, with a Minor in Teaching at Loma Linda University, California.
My most exciting assignment with Navy Medicine was deploying to the Philippines in 2003, as an operating room nurse. I participated in a lot of medical civic action programs (MEDCAPS). I think at least eight MEDCAPS, where we were ‘winning hearts and minds’ for the greater mission of promoting good while where there was the potential for anger and hatred to escalate. I came to understand what it meant to need the basics and how that need could be manipulated by anger. I also saw the smiles when they said, ‘an American helped me’ and meant it.
The best part about my career in Navy Medicine is the friendships, the travel, the bigger mission, the teamwork and the dedication to a common mission. I have friendships that last several moves away from one another, only to reconnect again with one conversation like time had not passed.
If I could sum up my experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, I would say that I have never regretted for one moment taking the initial oath. I have not looked back since. I am where I am meant to be, doing what I was trained to do, and achieving it with the best group of people on the planet.
I am a Navy Nurse Corps officer Capt. Annie Case and I am Navy Medicine.