Licensed Vocational Nurse, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Houston
Served 4 years in the Army
Q | How did you end up here in the Texas Medical Center?
A | I joined out of Katy, Texas, and my husband is active duty. I went to school and am an LVN (licensed vocational nurse) now. I used my GI Bill. My husband is retiring so we’re back to home base, Houston.
Q | What drew you to the medical center for your post-military careers?
A | When I was deployed in Iraq, they had this hospital in Ramadi called Charlie Med. A lot of Marines that were out in convoys, they would come back and they would announce, ‘Any Type A, Type B blood come and donate right now.’ There were so many people that were hurt and there was just nothing I could do but just start their IVs and that’s it. That’s even if I could get near them. A lot of people were helping out Charlie Med but they just needed staff. The desire to keep helping people—seeing combat in Ramadi was just life changing.
Q | What are your responsibilities in the medical center?
A | Right now I work at the eye clinic. I’m a floater here. I’m a pre-op nurse, I do minor procedures, visual field exams, visual acuity sometimes.
Q | How did your military experiences prepare you for your current job?
A | Showing up on time. Being disciplined. Patience.
Q | How was the transition from the military to civilian life?
A | It was hard because I still lived near an Army base and I still felt obligated to show up to formation, I felt obligated to deploy even though I know my responsi- bilities to my family stateside. Working here at the VA, that’s the closest I can get right now in my life to being active duty again. I’m surrounded by everyone with similar experiences and that feels like home to me. I feel at home here…I can see myself staying here for a very long time. I love working with veterans.