The Catholic University of America

Aug. 7, 2008

CUA Nursing Professor Participates in Boot Camp

Assistant Professor of Nursing Teresa Walsh

At a time when military nurses are in short supply, Catholic University Assistant Professor of Nursing Teresa Walsh recently spent five days at an ROTC boot camp to better understand military life.

From July 21 to July 25, Walsh took part in a United States Army Cadet Command boot camp at Fort Lewis in Washington state that simulated the demands of being an ROTC cadet. As part of her teaching duties at CUA, Walsh supervises ROTC nursing students who receive clinical experience at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. She is also the nursing school's liaison with that facility.

"Associate Provost for Academic Administration Patricia McMullen and I thought this was a great chance to become familiar with the program, since I have been working with the nursing students at Bethesda Naval Medical Center," Walsh says. According to Walsh, the Army hopes to recruit 300 registered nurses by 2009.

At the boot camp, thanks to Army funding, about 150 educators from across the United States observed and participated in ROTC training for five days. ROTC cadets, who are between their junior and senior years, spend a month at Fort Lewis training in physical fitness, weaponry, communications, combat patrols and other military skills. Activities include high tower rappelling, machine gun target practice, cadet graduation ceremonies, and demonstration of the Army Medical Simulation Training Center.

For Walsh the hardest part of her time at the boot camp was adjusting to life in the field.

"Two of the most memorable commodities that I will remember were a lack of sleep [about four to five hours a night] due to the busy schedule and cooking MRE's (the Army's pre-packaged Meals Ready to Eat)," Walsh says.

Even so, she is glad she went.

"I now better understand what ROTC does," Walsh says. "I was very impressed with the cadets and the program and now know better what we need to do in academia so all of us function more cohesively."