This is the story of Pat Ahearne:
An Army nurse who served with the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq
You know you are a military nurse when, you get the call to deploy and take 35 brand new nurses to war. I had the privilege of serving with the 10th Combat Support Hospital out of Fort Carson, Colorado from October 2005 to October 2006. With us were 35 new 2LTs with less then one year of experience in nursing, almost half the staff. Yet, we had to staff a trauma hospital and get ready to take care of some of the worst wounded you will ever see. But, as military nurses we didn’t see this as an insurmountable problem. Luckily we had some very skilled senior leaders and nurses with us, such as LTC John Groves, LTC Collette McKinney, Majors Smith, Swift and others too numerous to mention. They trained and coached and mentored these young nurses into the best trauma team in the world. To watch these young nurses evolve into the experts in their craft was amazing. We saw some of the worst injuries you can imagine but the calmness and the professionalism that this young staff displayed was amazing to see. Of course the emotional toll was significant but the professionalism was impressive. To be a part of that was even more rewarding. If you would have walked into our ER, ICUs or Wards after 90 days you would have seen the calm professional demeanor of an Army nurse. You would have thought you walked into a trauma hospital with nurses with many years of experience. The traumas were a controlled quiet chaos, with focused expert care being delivered by some of the youngest nurses around. The level of expertise that these nurses displayed in the ICUs and wards was amazing and the clinical outcomes were fantastic. What an honor. One I will never forget.
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