By Lt. Cmdr Julie A Conrardy, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota Spain
The year of 1908 officially marked the establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps. The first Navy nurses were 20 strong and were dubbed the “The Sacred Twenty” because they were the first to serve as Navy Nurses. Navy nurses have come a long way in the past 104 years! Today both men and women serve proudly in the Navy Nurse Corps filling a variety of different roles. Navy Nurses work in such diverse roles as executive medicine administrators, practitioners, educators, clinicians, researchers, and managers within hospitals, clinics, ships, and in combat zones.
All nurses are recognized nationally during the first week of May each year to celebrate and highlight their dedicated service in the field of nursing. This year’s theme is “Nurses-Advocating, Leading and Caring”.
U. S. Naval Hospital Rota currently has 47 Navy Nurses ranking from Lieutenant Junior Grade (02) to Captain (06). Each nurse fills a vital role here at Naval Hospital Rota, advocating for our patients, caring for our patients and leading in all levels of military medicine. We are also fortunate enough to have civilian nurses who work at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, as volunteers, as contractors in the hospital and as Government Service (GS) employees.
Three Navy Nurses were asked about their Navy and Nursing careers. The following questions were asked:
1. Were you a direct commission, prior enlisted, or did you go through ROTC?
2. Why did you become a nurse?
3. What do you like best about being a nurse?
The following three Lt. j. g. Navy Nurses are featured this year. Each has a unique background and is a part of Navy Nursing’s future!
Lt. j.g. Mark Crider :
1. I was a direct commission as well as prior enlisted. I used my own funds and a student loan to go to school. I started out in the Navy as a Hull Maintenance Technician (Nuclear Components Welder) in 1988 and received my commission in 2008.
2. I became a nurse for 2 reasons. First, “do you know what an HT does?!!” The working environment is much nicer as a nurse. I have always enjoyed working with children and I always thought surgery was really cool.
3. I found OR Nursing with pediatrics a perfect fit for me. What other job can you take a child from a mother and father that aren’t doing well and bring them back better? Best job in the world! You can’t beat that feeling.
Lt. j.g. Sunny Bartholomew:
1. I did ROTC at Penn State University and graduated in May 2008.
2. Honestly it just kind of happened, but I am so glad it did! I was really interested in biology/health and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. My Mom was an ER nurse and just knowing what she did at work made it seemed like a career that I would really enjoy.
3. I love the fact that nursing is multi-dimensional; you can start off in one field and within a few months or years be in a completely different area of nursing that is more suited to your personality. Plus, I have met some amazing people that I would never have had to chance to meet otherwise!
Lt. j.g. Erin Curtis:
1. I participated in the ROTC program at my college.
2. I knew that I wanted to be in one of the helping professions and nursing was a good fit.
3. I love teaching! In labor and delivery/postpartum, I get to give patients the tools to be good parents.