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Future Army Nurse Shares Military Nurse Training Program Experience

By: Leah Sherwood

Boise State School of Nursing student and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet, Sarah Spencer, is the embodiment of the idea that college is a time of growth and exploration.

Three years ago, Spencer moved to Boise from California less than a week before the start of the new fall semester. Taking what she calls a “calculated risk,” she signed up full-time for ROTC. Not long after her enlistment, Spencer was accepted into the Boise State School of Nursing.

Spencer’s calculated risk paid off. This past summer, she took part in the Summer Nurse Training Program (NSTP), which is a unique opportunity for ROTC cadets who are also nursing students. The three-week program assigns cadets to United States Army hospitals throughout the country. Spencer served in the level one trauma center at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) in San Antonio, Texas. Spencer explained that due to SAMMC’s pivotal medical role in providing patient care, graduate medical education and research and taking care of wounded service members, she gained valuable experience.

“From my experience at NSTP I forged strong relationships and gained priceless experience building my foundation as an Army Nurse,” Spencer said. “It was the perfect environment for me to ask the burning questions I had about my own personal career.”

Spencer graduates in Spring 2014 and upon graduation will enter the Army as a second lieutenant. As part of her training, Spencer must complete a 18-month rigorous Clinical Nurse Transition Program, a program for Army nurses that aims to connect academic training and the demands of the clinical environment while preparing participants for deployment.

“I am fortunate and thankful I can participate in the ROTC program and the nursing program,” Spencer said. She added that faculty from both programs have been extremely supportive and encouraging during her academic career.

Boise State’s School of Nursing and ROTC program signed an agreement in 2011 that guarantees two cadets each term will be admitted into the nursing baccalaureate program, providing that the cadets meet the requirements of both the ROTC and the School of Nursing.