On Nov. 21, the East Carolina University College of Nursing’s Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau hosted a military panel with representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force during a fall banquet at the Greenville Hilton.
Senior nurse leaders discussed their specific medical mission, nursing roles, current challenges, and successes. The intent was to raise awareness about military nursing.
The College of Nursing’s Dr. Donna Lake (Colonel, USAF Retired) facilitated the discussion to show the diversity in military nursing and stimulate thought on how ECU nursing faculty and students can partner with Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base nurses. Each speaker shared a wealth of knowledge about nursing in various settings from more than 60 years of military nursing experience collectively.
The Joining Forces national initiative was started in 2012 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative aims to educate and spark action from citizens, communities, businesses, and schools to ensure military families have the support they have earned. The campaign focuses on three key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness – while engaging in a comprehensive effort to raise awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of military families.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing partnered with the American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing to engage nursing schools nationwide, including ECU, in the Joining Forces campaign.
A special military tradition was demonstrated at the ECU banquet called “The White Table or POW/MIA Table,” which symbolizes a military family member who is missing at the dinner table. The small, unoccupied table is a familiar sight at military special events. No one ever sits at the table; it pays tribute to military veterans who cannot be there due to their sacrifice in defense of freedom.