The Navy Nurse Candidate program selects only 60 nursing students a year, and Immaculata’s Michaela Dwyer ’21 is among the elite students selected. From Glenside, Pa., she has been thinking about the Navy Nurse program since her high school days at Bishop McDevitt.
After completing the lengthy application process, conducting interviews and passing the MEPS (the extensive military physical), she finds herself excited and prepared.
With such a small percentage of students accepted into the program, Michaela’s dedication to her studies is already paying off. “Ever since my freshman year, I knew nursing came first and nothing else can get in the way of that,” says Michaela. Prioritizing her class work with being an RA, a member of Campus Ministry and the IU Student Nurse Association, she knows when she has to say “no.” “It’s hard, but I know it will be worth it in the end.”
When Michaela graduates in May with her B.S.N. and passes the NCLEX-RN (the nurse licensing exam), she will attend Officer Development School in Rhode Island for five weeks. Because she earned a bachelor’s degree, Michaela will automatically be an active duty commissioned officer with the Navy. Once she completes five weeks of officer training, she heads to a nurse duty station, where she will hone her skills in the medical-surgical unit for four years. From there, she can select a specialty and stay stateside, deploy overseas or serve on one of two Navy hospital ships. Although she has time to decide, she is leaning toward overseas service or working on a hospital ship.
If she becomes a career Navy nurse, Michaela can further her nursing career and can train in a particular medical specialty. She is considering a future career as a nurse practitioner with a specialty in pediatric, emergency or psychological care. According to Michaela, critical care nursing is a vital specialty for the Navy—working with veterans and active duty military members and their families.
She is gaining experience including participating in her recent clinicals at the VA Medical Center in Coatesville, Pa and Saint Christopher’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Michaela recognizes that she learns best in a clinical environment and is grateful for the excellent education she has received at Immaculata thus far.
“I am thankful every day that I picked Immaculata because it does give you the individual attention. You’re not just a number,” she says. “And everyone here wants to see you succeed, classmates, professors, everyone.”
“I am so proud of Michaela for being one of only 60 students chosen for the Navy Nursing program. Michaela’s strong work ethic and wonderful personality will serve her well in the program and throughout her career,” states Sharon Barnes, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor of nursing.