"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"
Sgt. Francisco Rosario is assigned to the Burn Center Intensive Care Unit as an Army licensed practical nurse and is one of four nurses featured in a story celebrating National Nurses Week at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

Sgt. Francisco Rosario is assigned to the Burn Center Intensive Care Unit as an Army licensed practical nurse and is one of four nurses featured in a story celebrating National Nurses Week at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Photo by Steven Galvan

Celebrating Nurses’ value, diversity at USAISR

By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
01 JUNE 2015

Since 1993, National Nurses Day has been celebrated on May 6 to honor and recognize nurses and to raise awareness of the important role they play in society. May 6 also marks the beginning of National Nurses Week which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the English nurse known as the founder of professional nursing. To mark these annual observances, four nurses from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research are being highlighted to recognize the important and diverse role they fulfill at this Institute.

“We’re aware that National Nurses Day and Week is a time to recognize the nurses as an important component of this organization,” said Col. (Dr.) Michael D. Wirt, USAISR Commander. “I offer a sincere thanks to all of the nurses who work diligently to care for our patients at the Burn Center and support combat casualty research.”

Sarah Anderson is a licensed vocational nurses and Army reservist who provides burn care at the USAISR Burn Center Progressive Care Unit. She has been at the Burn Center for two years since earning her nursing degree through the Army’s LVN program in Augusta, Ga.

“I love the way this career challenges me in all aspects—emotional, intellectual and physical,” said Anderson. “I also love working here at the burn center. There is never a day that I do not learn something new or experience a situation that challenges me as a person.”

Anderson also stated that she chose nursing as a career because she has always been interested in the medical field. “Plus the recruiter made it sound so exciting,” she added.

When asked what it takes to be a successful nurse, Anderson said that there needs to be a quality in a person that allows them to put other’s needs before their own.

“I believe that successful nurses are people who enjoy giving their time and service to others and motivate themselves by their hard work,” she said.

Anderson credits her family for the inspiration that she needs to do her job every day. She said that she hopes that the compassion and care that she has for her patients is provided to her family if admitted to a hospital. The advice that she provides to anyone contemplating a career as a nurse is simple.

“There’s no salary that can compensate for the care that you give at time,” said Anderson. “It would be nice if this was an 8 to 5 job, but it can sometimes be a 24/7 rollercoaster. But it is also the most rewarding experience to assist people through what can be the most traumatic incident of their lives.”

Sgt. Francisco Rosario is assigned to the Burn Center Intensive Care Unit as an Army licensed practical nurse. He earned his nursing license through the Army’s Practical Nursing Course and has been at the Burn Center for two years. Rosario said that he selected to be a nurse in the Army to enhance his clinical experience in preparation for medical school.

“My goal is to become an anesthesiologist someday,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rosario says that he’s happy being a nurse at the BICU because it gives him the ability to increase and enhance his critical care exposure. He said that this exposure has a positive impact in assisting critically ill patients requiring continuous monitoring.

“It’s definitely preparing me for medical school,” Rosario said.

Humility, initiative and motivation are the three traits that Rosario says a successful nurse should possess. He believes that those three qualities directly enhances resiliency in effective nurses.

Rosario attributes his success as a Soldier and a nurse to the inspiration that he draws from his family and patients. He offers this advice to anyone who is looking at nursing as a career.

“Although a demanding career field, it is definitely a gratifying experience and feeling when your patients and family members genuinely thank you for your nursing care,” he said.

Karliss F. Kimbrough, the community outreach coordinator at the USAISR Clinical Education Department is a licensed vocational nurse and has been at the Burn Center for 21 years. She earned her nursing degree while on active duty in the Army in 1994 at the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Although Kimbrough’s mother was also an LVN, she didn’t know that she’d be following in her footstep until she was a teenager.

“I saw an accident involving a motorcyclist and an 18-wheeler,” recalled Kimbrough. “The motorcyclist went under the truck and both of his legs were amputated. When the medical helicopter came for the motorcyclist the EMTs [emergency medical technicians] could not find his legs. I saw them and carried them to the EMTs. From that point on I knew that I wanted to be a nurse.”

Kimbrough has worked in all three burn care area at the Burn Center—the BICU, Progressive Care Unit and the Outpatient Clinic. She said that teaching patients and their family members how to care for their injuries once discharged from the Burn Center is what she likes best about being a nurse.

“I also love holistic care encompassing the body, mind and soul, and moving beyond the illness or injury,” she said.

Kimbrough believes that successful nurses are caring, responsible, and have good communication skills who are advocates for their patients.

“We deal with extremely sick and injured patients and their families on a daily basis and we need to be able to show them that we truly care about them,” said Kimbrough. “We must be sympathetic, but must be able to control our emotions. There is no room for errors and we must be ready for any and everything at all times.”

Kimbrough admits that nursing is not a career for everyone and tells anyone considering a career in this field to examine themselves to see if this is for them because being a nurse can be extremely stressful and emotional.

“But most of all, nursing can be an extremely rewarding career,” she said. “It’s not just about the monetary aspect of it. It’s about what you can do for others that reflects who you are as a person.”

Randy E. Malone is a registered nurse at the USAISR Joint Trauma System. A retired Air Force Master Sgt., Malone has been at the JTS as a clinical data specialist and senior consultant for three years. He started his medical career as a medic and earned his nursing degree through the Air Force’s nursing program offered to enlisted medics.

“As I gained tenure I desired to display the real-world training and experience afford by numerous deployments,” said Malone. “Lt. Gen. Paul Carlton, who was the Wilford Hall Medical Center commander [Lackland Air Force Base, Texas] afforded enlisted medics the upward mobility to access this value training and I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in it.”

Malone stated that he has loved his nursing career because he has not only been able to assist patients through hands-on care, but through the USAISR mission of being in a position to give back to future patients with the hopes of sparing suffering. He says that he is inspired daily by his varied and capable co-workers.

“Truly, many talents, professionalism and caring, lovingly interwoven into a tapestry to be gently placed upon the wounded patriots of our country,” he said.

Malone believes that successful nurses take advantage of the most technologically advanced equipment and supplies available to them to provide the best patient care with empathy and sympathy. His advice to anyone looking at a nursing career is to seek advice and direction from peers and elders.

“Go and converse with nurses who have accomplished the job you seek to enter,” Malone said. “Sage advice is golden.”