DiversityNursing Blog

New program garners nurse’s aide certifications for soldiers

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:53 PM

By Madison Lozano

Nurse's aideSgt. Angela Hughes was always interested in nursing, but wasn’t up to the role right out of high school.

Instead, she entered the Army as a supply soldier. Though she loved her job, after 15 years, Hughes developed carpal tunnel syndrome and was moved to Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Brigade to prepare to leave military service.

Hughes is one of several soldiers taking part in a new brigade program to earn nurse’s aide certifications before they transition out of the Army.

The Gateway program runs in coordination with Skillpoint Alliance, an Austin-based nonprofit that provides training and education to job seekers. This is the first time Skillpoint has worked in the Fort Hood area.

On Monday, four brigade soldiers trained at the Hill Country Nursing and Rehab facility in Copperas Cove. The center is where they spent 40 hands-on clinical hours, in addition to the 60 classroom hours needed to earn the certification. The group will graduate from the program on Friday.

“It’s a great opportunity for soldiers who are transitioning ... at no cost to them,” said Anthony Thomas, the brigade transition coordinator. He was contacted by Skillpoint and served as a liaison between the brigade and the nonprofit.

“We try to accommodate soldiers’ career goals through job fairs and workshops,” he said, but this program is the first of its kind for the brigade.

Bethany Paul, Skillpoint’s Gateway program coordinator, worked directly with the students during the four-week training period.

“My job is to get them graduated and employed,” she said. Her organization has an 80 percent employment rate within the first 30 days after students graduate from the program.

Paul’s role required her to select the students and track them throughout the program to ensure successful completion.

“We love being able to serve this population,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to give back.”

Skillpoint also offers mock interviews, resume support and networking opportunities, Paul said.

The brigade soldiers have been pleased with the outcome of the program.

“At the beginning, I was disappointed,” Hughes said of leaving the Army. But now that she’s had time to accept the idea, she is excited to move on and work in nursing.

The patients have been her biggest joy of working at the rehab center.

“The residents are great to be with,” she said. “It’s always something new every day.”

Hughes will exit the Army in May 2014 and is looking forward to spending more time with her three children. “Things slow down a bit when you get out,” she said. She’s glad her post-military life will still require interaction with people on a daily basis.

Resident Eva Xindaris loved working with the brigade soldiers.

“They’re very thorough,” she said. “They’re not rushing.” Though Xindaris is sad to see them go, she knows there will be more in the future.

For Staff Sgt. Jennifer Adams-Ward, working in the facility has been a pleasure.

“It’s a joy to see me put a smile on someone’s face,” she said. She loves to help people, and the residents at the Hill Country Rehab Center have treated her well. “I enjoy learning the story of them and what they’re done in their lives,” she said.

Adams-Ward’s path differs from her fellow classmates. She will not be transitioning out of the Army. She is a medic, currently serving as the medical noncommissioned officer of the brigade’s 1st Battalion. Earning her nurse’s aide certification is one step towards becoming a registered nurse and an Army officer.

At this time, the brigade and Skillpoint are offering an electrician apprenticeship program too. Thomas hopes to add more options in the coming year. The Gateway program is also open to spouses and dependents.

“It’s been very successful,” Thomas said. “I appreciate the fact that they’re giving soldiers this (chance).”

Source: Fort Hood Herald

Topics: career, training, military, soldiers, nurse's aid

Resident used nursing career to help wounded soldiers

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

By Samantha Cronk

For Berkeley County native Dorothy Leavitt, 93, the desire to help people is natural, so when the call came for volunteers to assist soldiers wounded in World War II, Leavitt needed no other prompting.

While she was aware of WWII and its effects, the war became personal for Leavitt after she helped care for eight severely wounded soldiers who were recovering in an army hospital in Martinsburg.

Leavitt graduated from Martinsburg High School in May 1937 at 18 and by September, she began training to become a nurse. In 1940, Leavitt graduated as a registered nurse as part of a graduating class of fewer than 10 women.

describe the image

Journal photo by Samantha Cronk
Berkeley County native Dorothy Leavitt, 93, used her profession as a nurse to help soldiers wounded during World War II who were sent to recover at the Newton D. Baker Hospital in Martinsburg.

"I knew even when I was a young girl that I wanted to be a nurse. My mother had her babies at home and the nurses would be helping the doctor, and I just always wanted to be a nurse," she said.

It was during her time as a nurse that Leavitt chose to volunteer her services to wounded World War II soldiers at the Newton D. Baker Hospital, a military hospital, in Martinsburg. In 1946, the Newton D. Baker Hospital became the VA Medical Center as part of the Veterans Administration.

"I always worked in the paraplegic ward. There were about five cubicles, and each one had eight men in it. They were all young men in their 20s, paralyzed from the waist down. We always went back to the same eight men, so those eight are the ones you say you took care of," Leavitt said.

"We worked during the daytime and then every night for 18 months we went down from 7 to 10 p.m. or later, because sometimes they had to pull us away," Leavitt said.

Leavitt described her job as anything that would make the men comfortable, including rubbing their backs, washing their faces and changing their sheets.

Eventually, the men Leavitt cared for were transferred to hospitals close to where the men lived. Along with other nurses who volunteered in the paraplegic ward, Leavitt helped form the Newton D. Paraplegic Group, which kept soldiers and nurses connected.

Through the group, soldiers and nurses would stay in contact through letters and meet at least once a year for food and fellowship.

As a nurse, Leavitt worked for several local doctor's practices as well as in private duty. She also worked at the VA Center for one year in the medical ward.

Through her career as a nurse and life in Berkeley County, Leavitt has experienced many professional milestones, including working with Martinsburg's first radiologist, as well as witnessing almost a century's worth of change to Martinsburg.

"I liked to take care of patients, and I just didn't want to be behind a desk. At the time I was going for my training, it was just a job. Now, I've had some time to think back, and I realize that some of that stuff I saw during my nursing career was really miraculous," Leavitt said.

Leavitt's thumbprint can be found throughout Martinsburg. Of the 64 acres Leavitt and her late husband Charles owned as orchards, Leavitt retains 53 acres. On some of the land she sold sits the Martinsburg water tank and Orchard View Intermediate School.

"The amount of change, it's amazing. It's still a good place (to live). You can see the changes. Of course they paved the roads, we get mail and they've changed the name of (Delmar Orchard Road) so many times," Leavitt said.

Leavitt can recall living through the Great Depression, claiming that her family was fortunate to avoid the harsh conditions many families found themselves in during that time. Leavitt credits her father with providing for her mother and siblings, saying that he worked hard to find work and always provided them with new shoes and textbooks before every school year.

"I went to a two-room school house through the eighth grade. When we finished eighth grade, we had to go to the old Martinsburg High School and take a test for two days to see whether or not we were allowed to go to high school. I made the second highest (grade) in the county. You remember that kind of stuff," Leavitt said.

Leavitt said her parents supported her ambition to become a nurse. Although it has been many years since she has worked professionally, Leavitt still considers herself a nurse.

"Once you're a nurse, you're always a nurse," she said.

Source: The Journal 

Topics: nurse, patient, Dorothy Leavitt, WWII, soldiers, wounded, connect

Recent Jobs

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all