AORN Blog - The Periop Life

The Ultimate Sacrifice – In Honor of All Military Nurses

The Ultimate Sacrifice – In Honor of All Military Nurses

May 23, 2018     

This Memorial Day we recognize military nurses serving our country by providing safe care for their patients. We also honor military nurses who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Working in challenging and even dangerous arenas is often part of the job for military nurses who take risks for their patients and those serving alongside them. US Navy Lieutenant Commander Reynalda McBee, RN, CNOR, MBA, has spent her career caring for perioperative patients in service to her country. An active AORN member, she is currently assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton in Wash., and is part of a surgical team prepared for deployment in case of war.

Lt. Cmdr. McBee sees military nursing as her social responsibility to make sure every soldier comes home.

She is inspired daily by the sacrifices she sees her military colleagues make so willingly, as well as the resilience that is inherent in military nurses to do their job, no matter what it takes.

This Memorial Day she honors the memory of those she has lost in the line of duty and the service they gave in care of their patients. She remembers a fallen comrade deployed to Afghanistan who was shot and killed.

“The soldiers we care for have done their part fighting for their country and we as nurses are ready to do our part by giving them the best care possible, regardless of conditions.”

A History of Service

Second Lt. Frances Stanger

Nurses have a decorated history of service to this country through care and dedication to protect human life and bring it back from the brink.

In fact, bringing back the smallest spark of human life were the words Second Lt. Frances Stanger used to explain her work as a WWII nurse.

Here’s an excerpt from her letter to the Stars and Stripes written in the very early hours of Oct. 21, 1944, the day before she was killed when Germans shelled her field hospital:

"The rain is beating down...with a torrential force. The fire is burning low and just a few live coals are on the bottom," Stanger wrote. "Couldn't help thinking how similar to a human being the fire is. If it is allowed to run down too low, and if there is a spark of life left in it, it can be nursed back. So can a human being. It is slow; it is gradual; it is done all the time in these field hospitals."

Do you know a military nurse who protects this spark of life? Do you pay tribute to a military nurse who has given his or her life caring for patients in service to their country?

Honor them alongside AORN this Memorial Day.

We invite you to share their story on AORN’s Facebook page.