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Nurse Anesthetist Fulfills Career Aspirations via U.S. Army Program

FORT KNOX, Ky., Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- You never know who is watching.

The eight year old girl was captivated as the Army Nurse assisted her mother at Fox Army Hospital at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., shortly after she had given birth to her sister some years ago.

"I will never forget that nurse's wonderful spirit, her kindness to my mother, and her intelligence," Maj. Regina Daniels says. "I wanted to be like her; she always stuck out in my mind as the years passed."

And so was born within Daniels a desire to care for others and to serve her country.

There were other signposts along the path of life that seemed to direct her, and continued to strengthen her desire to serve.

"My Dad was a career Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer. We moved around a lot, living in Alabama, North Carolina, Illinois and Germany," she said. "We had many adventures around the country and overseas."

She was also a big fan of the famous TV show M*A*S*H.

"I was really enamored by the show. I envisioned building the same camaraderie as the members of that field hospital did, and putting my nursing skills to the test in an austere environment," she said. "My favorite character was Maj. 'Hot Lips' Houlihan. She was my favorite because she stood up for what was right, was not afraid to think outside the box, had good relationships with team members, and had a sense of humor. I even dressed up as her for a M*A*S*H costume party once when I was stationed at Fort Bragg, and I won the contest!" she said.

For Daniels, everything she encountered seem to point toward a life of serving others, possibly in a military setting.

"When I was a junior in high school, I began looking into Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships," she said. "I kept my options open for all of the services, but, deep in my heart, I had a strong desire to serve in the Army."

Daniels ultimately received a four year Army ROTC scholarship.

Upon graduation and commissioning, she started her Army career as a 2nd Lt. at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. on the pediatric inpatient ward. From there, she transitioned to the adult medical/surgical ward shortly before deploying to Iraq from 2003-2004. Always seeking greater challenges, she later took the Army's Critical Care Nursing Course at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and became nationally board-certified as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN).

Daniels served in an Army ICU environment to sharpen the skills she had acquired during the Critical Care Nursing Course. Then another Army program caught her eye.

"I wanted to be a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) because I had met several CRNA's during my deployment to Iraq who were such great examples of the autonomy nurses can have," Daniels said. "I was fascinated and impressed by their level of knowledge and their rapid decision making skills in the heat of battle and chaos. I thought, if I want to challenge myself to the fullest, this is the road for that challenge."

Daniels applied and was accepted to the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing at the Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences School of Nursing in Boston. The program was rated #1 in the U.S. News and World Report 'Best Graduate Nursing Anesthesia Programs' in 2011.

She is currently enrolled in the Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree program and will graduate from the program in the near future.  She will then likely be assigned to a hospital where she can put theory into practice. Her ultimate goal is to continue clinical practice and become an anesthesia program director, where she can teach, mentor and influence younger generations of nurse anesthetists.

Col. Timothy Hudson, commander of the Army's Medical Recruiting Brigade at Fort Knox, Ky., has mentored Daniels since she was a first lieutenant at Fort Bragg.

"I had the opportunity to work closely with Major Daniels shortly after she began her Army nursing career," he said. "I was impressed by her strong work ethic, her attention to detail, and her drive for excellence. I was not surprised to learn that she was selected for this highly competitive post-graduate nursing program; actually, I expected it. Major Daniels will succeed in any situation. Nurses like Regina are the ones we need to identify, to develop and retain as professionals who are both proficient and strong leaders.  Our Army Soldiers and Army Families deserve the best," Hudson said.

Daniels offers this advice to those who dream of being an Army Nurse or CRNA:

"Make concrete goals and stay the path," she said. "Don't let obstacles move you off the path you have set for yourself. Overcoming those challenges will make you stronger. Specializing in critical care nursing is required before you apply for nurse anesthesia school. Never give up, even when you fail the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time!

Finally, be not only a good leader, but a good follower; healthcare is all about teamwork and the Army does it well. Always bring your family in for decisions, because they are your backbone and biggest supporters,"  she said.

"I love my job, and I am very thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to provide comfort and watchful care to our Nation's heroes, families and retirees every day. I really do feel like I am making a difference," Daniels said.

To learn more about Army Healthcare careers, visit: goarmy.com/i206

This release was written by Randall J. T. Lescault

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1d80eNao1w

SOURCE U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade

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