“We’re happy you’re here,” the deputy commander of inpatient services exclaimed, welcoming the group of high school students touring through the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Feb. 9.
Part of CRDAMC’s broader initiative to encourage educational institutions to tour the hospital, Lt. Col. Brian Cahill hopes this visit will give the 45 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets insight into the medical careers available here.
“I have a lot of exceptional noncommissioned officers and officers that are going to talk with you about what they do, and some opportunities for you,” Cahill told the Hightower High School students from Missouri City, Texas, near Houston.
Those NCO and officer tour guides ranged from a practical nursing specialist, flight medics, chief clinical sergeant major, chief physician assistant, site director clinical nurse transitions program, and the assistant surgical service deputy.
According to 1st Sgt. Melvin Lovelace, JROTC cadre, the school is one of three in the Fort Bend Independent School District that has a medical academy and physicians technical institute in which its students can earn a two-year degree prior to graduating high school.
“CRDAMC is a very important part of our tour of Fort Hood, because a lot of our students are in the medial academy and a lot are already looking to go into the medical field,” he said. “The field trip is conducted annually, and we really enjoy bringing the students out and seeing them get enlightened and excited.”
Already familiar with the Army’s physical fitness standards and lifestyle, the cadets got answers to questions like what would level one trauma be like, how does operating in a hospital differ from a combat or field environment, what do physician assistants do and what avenues are there for a college education and certification programs within the Army.
“This experience is invaluable,” said Angela Garcia, lead counselor, Hightower High School. “I don’t know if our students knew what a combat medic was (before coming to CRDAMC) and (many of them) weren’t even aware of the many other opportunities available in the medical career field. They just heard from great people that explained how everybody’s path (to achieve their goals) is different and that’s important.”