Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Riley
The assistant leading petty officer of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton’s Labor and Delivery Unit, Hospitalman Megan Schnell, was named the hospitals Blue Jacket of the Quarter (BJOQ) for the first quarter Jan. 24, 2020.
“I was so surprised, and honestly in disbelief,” said Schnell. “It’s an honor to be chosen as BJOQ and knowing that I am making my Labor and Delivery family proud means everything to me.”
Schnell, from Portland, Ore., and graduate of Benson Polytechnic High School, didn’t always have her eye on a career in Navy Medicine.
“After losing my mother to breast cancer when I was 20 years old, I tried putting myself through school by working as certified nursing assistant (CNA) for about year or so,” said Schnell. “I was working 16-hour shifts in order to support myself and keep my house. One day I realized that I didn’t want to be a CNA for the rest of my life.”
Wanting to pursue more she decided to seek out a new way to accomplish her goals.
“I wanted to be able to see the world, meet new people, and become a nurse someday,” she said. “I knew that staying on the path I was on wouldn’t take me there. The military checked off every box that I had for myself. I would be able to get my education, I would be able to keep my medical skills by being a hospital corpsman, and I would be able to meet new people.”
And just like that, her new path in Navy Medicine suddenly begun.
“Like a whirlwind,” said Schnell. “I just sold my house, donated about 80-percent of my belongings and joined the military.”
Since arriving at NMRTC Bremerton, Schnell grabbed the attention of the hospital’s leadership through her passion and willingness to tackle even the toughest of tasks.
“Schnell displays an inexhaustible work ethic evidence by her refusal to back down from any challenges, assigned or self-imposed,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Romualdo Humarang Jr., NMRTC Bremerton’s Directorate of Nursing Services leading chief petty officer. “Her hard work and dedication is showcased through her Sailor and department success… She leads by example, on and off duty, through community involvement and sustained superior performance.”
Some of the ways she gives back to the community is as a Drug Education for Youth mentor, helping educate youth on drugs and substance abuse, and by volunteering at local animal shelters.
Grateful for the opportunities provided by Navy Medicine, Schnell said she has been able to meet people and accomplish goal she didn’t otherwise think she would.
“I have met some of my greatest friends that I now consider family,” she said. “I have learned skills I wouldn’t have been able to learn as a CNA. I work side by side with registered nurses who are fantastic teachers and are always willing to educate me.”
When asked how she contributes to the Navy surgeon general’s priority of operational readiness, Schnell said by, “Ensuring that military members and their dependents are well taken care of. Ensuring that the labor and delivery unit is running as smoothly as possible.”
Summing up in one sentence her experience in Navy Medicine, Schnell said “Being a part of a committed organization that puts emphasis on improving patient safety and ensuring the mission always come first while still taking care of its staff and beneficiaries.”