***image1***The Army Nurse Corps has come a long way since pre-antibiotic times to providing the best care in the world. A lot can change in 106 years and the Army Nurse Corps celebrated its birthday Saturday at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.
Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, deputy Surgeon General and chief of the Army Nurse Corps, was in the KMC to help celebrate the 106th birthday and spoke about challenges facing the Army nurses.
“We face a national nursing shortage,” said General Pollock. “There is a national shortage in both civilian world and the Army. And since we require higher education to join the Army nurse corps than the civilian corps, we are competing for a smaller percentage of candidates.”
Restructuring of U.S. Army Europe and the move to modular brigades and combat support hospitals has changed the landscape for many servicemembers, but not likely for the Army nurse.
“That will have minimal effect on the nurse corps,” she said. “Hospitals are not part of the army’s modularity. Transformation is more of the combat aspect.”
Talks had been in the works to make more jobs in the nurse corps civilian positions. However, with the recent decision to expand the Army, that prior notion is being reassessed, she said.
In the European Command, nurses have the opportunity to serve in a variety of ways, from treating the wounded flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to performing humanitarian missions in Africa and Pakistan, for example. Missions such as these have benefited from deployable medical teams and the nurse has played an important role in these teams.
“Our nurses join and train with these teams and that training helps us hit the ground running,” she said. “We also are building specialty teams. If we need a burn team, a combat stress team, well, we have those teams training together and can quickly move them to join the fight. Army nurses bring flexibility to the team and can assist with multiple demands simultaneously.”