Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hospital Corps Celebrates 115 Years

By Hospitalman Jeyzon Fernandez Jimenez
Public Affairs Staff / Editor
Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital

The Hospital Corps 115th birthday celebration will take place June 17. Many of the Hospital Corps employment opportunities have evolved over the years. Hospital Corpsman work in an extensive number of career fields.

There are approximately 270 Hospital Corpsman on staff at Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms.  

Hospital Corpsman First Class, Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Andrea Nicole Turner from Denver, Colo., is the Director of Medical Services’ (DMS) Leading Petty Officer (LPO) and one of the two Respiratory Therapy Technicians at the hospital. Turner’s stepmother, who was a nurse, influenced and sparked her interest in the medical field. When Turner decided to join the Navy, she told the recruiter of her interest. As a result, the recruiter suggested Hospital Corpsman as a career option for Turner.

When asked what her most memorable experience to date in the Navy, she said, “Honestly, there is not one particular experience that stands out to me. My entire career has been memorable and I take little bits from every experience, and those little bits have made me the person I am today.”

As a medical professional, she believes that to be a Respiratory Therapy Technician, “definitely takes drive and dedication to learn the job, and keep yourself trained up on the constant changes of procedures, techniques, medicine, etc.

Respiratory Therapy is a vastly growing field.” Some of Turner’s aspirations are to complete her bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy, the possibility of applying to a Physician Assistant (PA) school, and advancement in the Navy.

Additionally, one piece of advice that she gives to junior Sailors is, “Set yourself up for success. The Navy has several opportunities available at your disposal. Work towards your degree, study for advancement, get involved in the Command and Community, and keep yourself educated on the ever changing military policies and procedures, instructions, etc.”

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Patrick M. Malone of Waukon, Iowa, is an Optician who checked onboard the hospital in May 2010. He currently works at the Optometry Clinic.

Malone has many memorable experiences. But the one that is the most memorable to him was in 2005 when a tsunami impacted the shores of the island country of Sri Lanka in South Asia. Malone, who was 19-years-old at the time, had recently checked onboard a ship. Malone and other Sailors from his command were actively involved in providing medical humanitarian assistance to the victims of Sri Lanka. “I was there for two months straight...doing just regular sick call, helping them with disposal of waste, etc,” said Malone. The look on the victims’ faces is something that continues to be unforgettable to Malone. 

Another memorable experience was when he reported to Italy in 2008. He used this opportunity to go on a two week backpacking adventure with a friend throughout Southeastern Europe. During his backpacking trip, he enjoyed visiting the legendary Count Dracula’s Bran Castle in Bran, Romania.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Alison B. Raphael from Montville, N.J., is an X-Ray Technician who arrived onboard in July 2012. Raphael shared that her reasons for becoming a Hospital Corpsman were linked to her medical education background obtained through some years of nursing school. One of her most unforgettable experiences in her naval career was graduating from X-Ray C School.

“I had grown so close with everybody that I went to school with. And we really grew such a gorgeous relationship...When it was time to say goodbye, it was like a bitter-sweet experience for me because these were the closest friends I had built since I've been in the military, especially in such a short period of time. But, obviously, we can’t stay in school forever,” said Raphael. 

Another memorable experience in her career was when she was nominated Blue Jacket of the Year at her previous command in Sicily, Italy. So, what does it take to be a X-Ray Technician? Raphael emphasized that it takes a lot of patience, motivation, being good with patient care, plenty of drive and energy.

Raphael’s future career ambitions are to continue with her x-ray education, plus she plans on opening a private pre-school. Raphael’s advice to Sailors, “Try not to get caught up in an identity crisis. To realize that you don’t have to be two completely separate people inside and outside the uniform. That’s where a lot of people, I feel, get stuck in a rut; they get in trouble because they feel like they have to be perfect in uniform. And then, once they take it off, then they want to kind of revert back to, maybe, old habits. And that’s my biggest advice; just to keep it with you outside of work as well, so that you don’t fall in that identity crisis category,” said Raphael. 

Hospitalman Christopher J. Moran of Las Vegas, Nev. is a Surgical Technologist who arrived on board December 2011. Moran pointed out that his reasons for joining the Hospital Corpsman rate are because he enjoys taking care of people and likes helping them become healthy. Moreover, Moran said a memorable experience throughout his career has been on him noticing that assisting surgeons in the operating room is an opportunity that many people his age do not have in the civilian world. He started assisting surgeons at the age of 19 when most of his friends had just graduated high school or were commencing their college path.  

What does it take to be a Surgical Technologist? Moran believes that it takes dedication, integrity, plenty of studying, and knowing what is right and wrong. One of his future goals is to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to work on his premedical education. His advice to fellow Corpsman highlights the importance of being persistent and not to become discouraged when one has done something wrong. Rather, he emphasizes to use such mistakes as a learning experience.

“I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and sacred trust...I dedicate my heart, mind, and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show in myself an example of all that is honorable and good throughout my naval career.” These words, taken from the Corpsman Pledge, constitute what the Hospital Corpsman continuously and traditionally live by. Hospital Corps, thank you for your continuous Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, and Service. Happy 115th Birthday Hospital Corps.