True Stories from the Field – Army Nurse Corps

Last Updated/Verified: Jan 14, 2020

Lt. Colonel Leesa Harrie is a Registered Nurse who is grateful for her career path with the Army Nurse Corps. It was during high school that a chance encounter with an Army ROTC officer led her to committing to a military service track with no other immediate family having served. Due to a paperwork hiccup, Leesa ended up pursuing tuition assistance through the National Guard, which meant double-duty during nursing school. Not only were her studies vigorous, she was personally committed to the Army ROTC requirements of physical training and her work with the National Guard. As the ROTC is structured like a working Army battalion, Leesa's responsibilities and duties expanded with each passing year of school.

Once school and the RN boards were complete and Leesa finished the Officer Basic Course, she was asked which area of nursing she preferred. "I told them I was pretty flexible, but nothing with a ‘P' like Pediatrics, Podiatry or Psychiatric nursing."

Although she was not given a direct choice of assignments, Leesa ended up working in oncology, a specialty she fell in love with as she cared for service members and their families.

Leesa spent more than 5 years with the Army Nurse Corps in a variety of settings and practice areas. As a nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, Leesa was assigned to care for VIPs in a private ward and also to care for critically ill patients with highly infectious diseases. Her second assignment at Kirk Army Medical Center, Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland provided her an education on managing response teams for incidents related to hazardous materials.

Leesa entered the Army Reserve two years after completing her active duty contract and has been assigned to logistics and medical units. Leesa enjoys the challenges related to non-nursing commands to learn new skills.

Is the Army Nurse Corps a path she would recommend to others? "Absolutely! I left nursing school confident that I had a plan. I spent many years not only gaining clinical skills but having the ability to work independently in a respected profession. I was able to further my education with a Master's in Executive Nursing and plan to get my MBA as well. The Army was a great choice for me."

MORE MILITARY NURSING LIFE RELATED READING: