By Rodney Jackson, CRDAMC Public Affairs
FORT CAVAZOS, Texas – Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center held a graduation for seven new OB/GYN nurse specialists, or 66Gs, in a ceremony at the hospital Dec. 15.
The Army first lieutenants endured a 16-week course focused on providing foundational information and skills that prepare Army Nurse Corps officers and Department of Defense civilian registered nurses to function as an advanced beginner OB/GYN staff nurse in a variety of nursing settings.
The graduates, 1st Lts. Monica Conley, Alyssa Howard, Monica Rodriquez, Emma Loyd, Emma Altonji, Caroline Jamieson, and Sarai Guevara, will return to previous duty stations or go on to new assignments at locations throughout the U.S. as OB/GYN nurses.
Recently retired Col. Amanda Forristal, Army nurse corps officer and guest speaker, spoke at the very first graduation of the hospital’s program and stated she had the feeling of a full-circle closure getting to speak at this graduation prior to leaving the military.
Forristal offered quotes, from people that inspired her, hoping they reinforced her comments and gave the graduates encouragement and strength when they need it most throughout their careers.
“‘Be bold, be courageous, and be your best,’ former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the patients and families that you care for will be anxious, excited, scared, novices, and old pros,” said Forristal. “You are joining teams with the most current research and information and there will be times when you’ll need to be the bold one and speak up because it’s for your patient.”
Those teams you are joining might not be aware of the newest and greatest information that you all have presented to the audience here today, she added.
Forristal was referring to the graduate’s findings on research of the ultimate virtual reality birthing experience, utilizing Doulas in the perinatal period of pregnancy, and preventing postpartum hemorrhage from their final practicums that were presented to the audience.
The graduates chose these areas because they are considered hot topics, new, and not widely understood in the maternity field.
Lt. Col. Noelle Dove, nurse midwife and deputy director , OB/GYN nurse specialist course, CRDAMC came back to serve as an administrator for the course. Dove finished the course in 2010 and praised the graduates for completing the course with above 90 percent averages.
“They have a lot of heart, and a lot of compassion to take care of our patients well and to advocate for what the right thing to do is, Dove said.
We need more nurses in this field with those special characteristics, because these nurses bring a lot of light wherever they go and I’m very, very, proud of them, she added.
As a medical service corps nurse prior to completing the program, 1st. Lt. Conley’s desire was to become a labor and delivery nurse and was named the class distinguished honor graduate.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” Conley said. “I studied and worked hard just like the rest of the girls in the course and am shocked to be named as the honor grad.”
Her vision is to ensure that all women receive high-quality care, their voices are heard and that they are educated, she added.
“My hope and goals are to make sure that throughout the labor process I’m engaged and letting women know what’s going on, so that they can be more at ease,” Conley said.