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Becoming a nurse and army officer through the ROTG program.

I am a young woman who has grown to seek knowledge and honor through the respect that I show for myself and others. I take personal responsibility for all of my actions. My family and friends have placed high standards on me, and this makes me strive for excellence in my life. However, I was not always as disciplined as I am now. Here is my story.

As a high school sophomore, I didn't know much about college. I really wasn't sure that college was for me, but I submitted college applications just as my peers did. I applied because it felt like the right thing to do; that's what everyone else my age was doing. However, on college career days, I always found myself speaking with recruiters from different branches of the military. At the end of my third year in high school, I decided that I was going to join the military immediately after I graduated. I reached out to a recruiter and began sharing the news with my family and friends about my decision to enlist. Around that same time, I began receiving acceptance letters from the colleges and universities throughout Michigan that I had applied to. In my senior year, I received an acceptance letter from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (U-M). At that point, I made the decision to attend college and place my desire for the military on hold. During my first year at U-M, I saw many service members on campus and realized I could get involved too. It hadn't occurred to me to combine my two desires--college and military service.

While studying abroad in Costa Rica, I met an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AROTC) cadet. She talked to me about ROTC and gave me contact information for an AROTC faculty member. I talked to the faculty to get more information and to discuss entry requirements. I was ecstatic when I discovered there was a way for me to attend college courses and train to become a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduating.

As an ROTC recruit, I had to attend a weekly ROTC course. I, and the other ROTC recruits, also conducted hands-on training during lab hours each week. Physical training early in the morning several times a week was an additional requirement. Once a semester, there were practical exercises with other ROTC programs where we applied our knowledge. ROTC offers a variety of other benefits such as scholarship for tuition, room and board, and books, as well as a monthly stipend. In return, you must commit to serve in the military as an officer for the designated time in your contract.

Although my plan was to commission as a Second Lieutenant and enter the Nursing Corps, I actually graduated from U-M with a psychology degree and went into the Medical Service Corps. Currently, I am a First Lieutenant in the Army National Guard and a first semester senior in the McAuley School of Nursing at University of Detroit Mercy. I am planning to graduate in December 2015. The AROTC was one of the most important experiences that served as the foundation in building who I am today.

For those considering an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing, enrolling in an ROTC program offers many benefits. Depending on the branch of ROTC and the school you attend, you must meet the height and weight requirement, pass the physical fitness test, and take an entry knowledge exam and other similar requirements. In addition to attending your scheduled nursing classes, you will have a course each semester for ROTC, attend physical fitness training, perform training exercises, participate in ROTC events, and more.

Upon graduating from your nursing program, you will receive your Bachelor of Science in Nursing and commission as an officer into your respective branch. Being a registered nurse in the civilian world cannot compare to what the military can offer you as far as enhancing your leadership and critical-thinking abilities. If you are interested, speak with a recruiter for the branch that interests you to learn more about the endless opportunities.

Erica Blue, BSNc, is First Lieutenant, United States Army National Guard, Medical Service Corps.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Army National Guard, Department of Defense, nor the U.S. Government.

Author's Note: I am a military service member. This work was prepared as part of my official duties. Title 17 U.S.C. 105 provides that "Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government." Title 17 U.S.C. 101 defines a United States Government work as a work prepared by a military service member or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties.
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Title Annotation:Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Author:Blue, Erica
Publication:MedSurg Nursing
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2015
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