Devon Furey, front/far right, will graduate from MCCN in December in pursuit of her dual dreams to become a nurse and serve our country. Standing with Furey, left to right, are: Derek Dreyer - recent graduate, May 2014; Sean Coolidge - junior; and Jillian Ballister - sophomore.
When Devon Furey joined the National Guard in 2010 she knew two things: she wanted to serve her country in the military and she wanted to become a nurse. After graduating at the top of her basic training class of 240 soldiers in 2011, she contacted the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) so she could begin her nursing education to eventually become an Army Nurse Corps officer.
“I chose Mount Carmel because I heard about how great the nursing program was from other students that were already in the program. They also said MCCN worked very well with the students in ROTC, working with our schedules when we have field training exercises and other events that may conflict with classes,” Furey said.
This past summer Furey was at Fort Hood in Kileen Texas for a month for the Nursing Summer Training Program (NSTP), which consisted of 168 clinical hours she completed in their emergency department at Darnall Armey Medical Center. “It was an awesome experience and I was ranked as the top nurse for the training program, so I thank Mount Carmel for preparing me for that,” she said.
“My clinicals at Darnall were amazing. I was able to perform skills on a day-to-day basis and take patients from the start of their triage to the time of their discharge. By the end of the training, I felt as though as I was another nurse working their unit. I plan to start my career as an ER nurse for the Army,” she continued.
While in Texas, Furey also took MCCN’s Nursing 408: Transitions to Practice course online with Ann Waterman, PhD, RN. “The classwork online was not bad at all. Dr. Waterman made it very easy to follow and she was very helpful the whole month that I was gone. I have learned over the past four years to balance my Army responsibilities with my nursing responsibilities by planning ahead and using your peers as a great resource as well,” Furey said.
Once she graduates in December, Furey will be going to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for the basic nurse course that all newly commissioned Army nurse officers are required to take for 10 weeks. She hopes to be stationed there so she can attend the Army’s five-month ER course to become a certified ER nurse. Upon completion, she will attend flight nurse school in order to be a certified flight nurse to help with medical evacuation operations overseas. She is unsure if she wants to spend her entire nursing career in the Army, or if a post-military nursing career is down the road. For now, she’s taking it one step at a time.
She takes on all the challenges of learning to be a nurse with the same discipline and values she learned in the military. “We live by our core Army values, our warrior ethos, every day, which are: I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit and I will never leave a fallen comrade. This has truly been what pushes me through school. I take on all challenges that nursing school brings and I have my amazing friends to help encourage each other along the way,” Furey said.
To those who might be considering getting a nursing education through the military, she says, “I would tell them it is the best choice they could ever make. Serving this country is truly an honor for us, so accepting that call to duty is something I would commend them greatly for. It is also a lot of hard work with some sacrifices. I was away from my family and friends for months at a time for different trainings and sometimes I could only contact them via handwritten letters,” she said.
“When you are in ROTC, you are pursing a military science degree at the same time as a nursing degree, so you have to be ready for any challenge that comes your way. But your weekends are different from the typical nursing student; one day you will be at clinical then the next weekend you will be living out in the woods for a few days, leading a patrol of 40 other soldiers to conduct an ambush, sleeping in the woods and carrying a machine gun. These past four years have been pretty awesome to say the least,” Furey said.