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Army Healthcare Professionals share their call to serve

Scientist looking at samples in test tubes in a lab. Army Spc. Breanna Brogan is a medical laboratory specialist at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital who performs elementary blood banking and clinical laboratory procedures in hematology, immunohematology, clinical chemistry, serology, and parasitology. Medical laboratory specialist is one of many Army Medicine career options available to qualified candidates. (US Army photo).

Recently, the Army held an ‘Army National Hiring Days’ as an Army-wide virtual campaign showcasing the U.S. Army’s, training, benefits and education to inspire individuals to consider military service. The Army’s goal of enlisting 10,000 new Soldiers in 150 career options also includes Army Medicine. 

With a variety of medical specialties available in the Army, healthcare professionals from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and Fort Campbell shared their experiences serving the nation and spoke about careers in the Army. 

“I love serving in the Army because I’m serving a purpose. I work in the hospital so I get to help Soldiers, their families, veterans, so it fulfills that sense of purpose for me being able to help them along their journey,” said Army Sgt. Stephanie Fontenot, a radiology specialist assigned to the hospital’s radiology department. Fontenot is responsible for operating X-ray and related equipment used in diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases and performs different types of radiography on patients. In addition to her medical training, Fontenot completed her associates degree while serving, using the Army’s tuition assistance program. 

Practical nursing specialist, Army Sgt. Brian Andrews deployed with his unit, the Fort Campbell-based 586th Field Hospital, to New York City in March to establish a temporary hospital to care for COVID-19 patients. Andrews helped establish the intensive care unit and intermediate care ward. While there, Andrews got to know his patients and many were surprised to learn about medical careers in the Army. 

“They thought, the Army is always out in the field, but then they got to realize our medical capabilities and they were very grateful,” said Andrews. “They wanted to know what I was doing in the Army and how I became what I am doing today, so it was good interaction throughout.” Andrew’s duties include performing emergency nursing care, changing and dressing wounds, and assisting in patient care – all skills he learned during 52 weeks of paid advanced individual training in the Army. 

Unlike the private sector where civilians pay out of pocket or take on debt through student loans to complete accredited medical training and licensing, the Army provides no cost job training with pay and benefits to those who enlist for healthcare specialties. The U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, located in San Antonio, Texas, is the largest medical education and training campus in the world and includes 315 programs of instruction related to medical, dental, and veterinary sciences. 

“Medical laboratory specialists, dental specialists, preventive medicine specialists, operating room specialists, pharmacy specialists and combat medic specialists are among the most needed enlisted medical career fields in the Army currently,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jorge Ortiz, an Army recruiter, “Not all jobs are combat,” said Ortiz. 

BACH pharmacy specialist Army Sgt. DeMarcus Heath, agrees. While Heath enjoys soldiering skills like marksmanship and field training, he gets a lot of satisfaction from his job supporting Soldiers, retirees and family members at BACH’s pharmacy. 

“People are really surprised that I am a pharmacy specialist in the military,” explained Heath. “They assume all Soldiers are kicking in doors and deploying every other year. What I like the most is the opportunity to help people who are in need. We serve Soldiers and civilians with all types of illnesses and to provide them with medications that will help make their lives more manageable, which is very satisfying to me.” 

 Individuals interested in learning more about Army medical career options, should contact their local recruiter, or, visit GoArmy.com.

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