On the Frontlines of Health: Veterans Take on Leadership Roles as Nursing Students

Student veterans (left to right) Jennifer Wain, Robert Collins, and Bobbie Poller use their leadership skills as nursing majors.

As medical professionals on the frontlines of health care, nurses must remain calm, level-headed, and prepared for anything that may arise in order to administer safe and proper care to their patients. In many ways, those qualities are a lot like what is required of someone in the military, who must rely on his or her training and instincts in a given situation.

“In the military, we have to make quick decisions and the best decisions that we can in that moment,” says Jennifer Wain, a field artillery second lieutenant in the New Jersey National Guard and a sophomore nursing major at Rutgers University–Camden.

“There’s a parallel with nursing because when a patient comes in, you have to evaluate the situation in a short amount of time,” says Wain, a Philadelphia resident. “Through the military, we’re able to develop those skills and they are skills that we can apply to nursing.”

Wain is one of several active service or military veterans at Rutgers–Camden pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For many of them, their military experience is helping them make the transition to the nursing profession.

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