US Veteran Kelli Heneghan
Please welcome US veteran Kelli Henegan. She’ll take us on a journey through Army nurses training, then give us a little info about her latest book. Here’s Kelli.
I was in college, studying to be a nurse, when I first considered that I could be in the military. We had ROTC on our campus (Army and Air Force) and I was always a little envious of them. My oldest brother had gone to Annapolis and I had an uncle who’d been a ‘lifer’ in the Air Force, so I knew the ups and downs of being in the military.
Back when I was graduating, our city still had some hospitals with their own nursing schools. Locally, we had fifteen major hospitals, but there were twelve schools of nursing. And we were hearing the rumblings that some of those hospital systems would be merging, and there would be hiring freezes. Not good for a new grad with no nursing experience, who would now be up against all of these seasoned nurses.
So here was this Army recruiter telling me I could get everything I wanted, just by signing up. It was called Direct Commissioning. I didn’t have to do ROTC or boot camp. I would be an officer and the summer after graduation, I would go to Officer’s Basic Course in San Antonio.
So after a few conversations with my parents, I decided I had nothing to lose. The recruiters helped me get my packet together and I did all the required physicals
and interviews. I found out in January, 1994, that my packet was approved. I had approximately two weeks to make my decision and be sworn in. As luck would have it, my oldest brother, a graduate from Annapolis, was on leave around that time, and he was able to swear me in. And then I sat back and waited for June, when I’d graduate and take that NCLEX exam.
July, 1994, I left Ohio for Texas and my Officer’s Basic Course. I started having issues with my knee during OBC, and no matter how much training I did, it just kept getting worse. Six months after getting to Ft. Hood, it ‘popped’ on the PT (physical training) test, during the 2 mile run. Thus began the end of my military career. I wound up with surgery and a medical discharge, with a disability rating, two years later. My actual time in service: just a few months over the three year mark.
But I learned a lot in those three years. I learned that nothing is out of your reach if you really want it. I learned a lot about nursing—I’m still a nurse, almost 20 years after my discharge. But most of all, I learned how to stand up for myself and fight for what I believe. It’s served me well not only in my career as a nurse but also in my new career as an indie author.
Learning to Breathe Again, Book Blurb: She only wanted a place to stay and some time to heal; He was only trying to help out a friend. Bayleigh Morrow just wants to hide from the world for a little while, recover from all the knocks she’s been taking lately. What better place than small-town Texas, where she can reconnect with her brother, meet her new sister-in-law, and just be left alone?