Army Hospitals Need Civilian Health Professionals
Looking for a way to be all you can be without actually joining the military? Consider working as a civilian health professional at one of the US Army's many healthcare facilities worldwide.
Such a career can be rewarding and challenging, says Darla Callaghan, chief of the Medical Cell, which recruits health professionals for civilian medical positions with Army facilities. In many Army hospitals, health professionals have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, she says. In addition, Army facilities provide avenues for professional growth and advancement.
According to Callaghan, the Medical Cell is currently focusing its recruitment efforts on nurses, pharmacists, family-practice physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers and radiologic technologists, although there is a need for other types of professionals as well. For most positions, the Medical Cell recruits experienced, qualified professionals who can "hit the ground running," she says.
Some civilian health professionals choose to work at several different Army facilities during the course of their careers. "The world is their stage," Callaghan says.
Other civilian health workers, like hospital administrator Sandra Anderson, find their niche at one Army facility. Anderson, who has worked at Ireland Army Community Hospital in Fort Knox, Kentucky, for more than 30 years, says Army hospitals offer at least one clear advantage over private-sector ones: They are not revenue-based. This makes Army hospitals quite attractive to health professionals disillusioned with insurance and billing hassles. "We have the ability to do the right thing for the patient at the right time, and to do it appropriately," she says. "We make decisions based solely on the need of the patient and not on external forces, and that is a big advantage for anyone in medical care today."
The benefits that government employees receive -- from a healthy retirement plan to a generous amount of paid leave -- help attract health professionals to Army hospitals, too, Anderson says.
Perhaps the most important reason health professionals choose to work for Army hospitals, however, is the "sense of patriotism" they get from caring for active-duty and retired soldiers and their families, Anderson explains. "It doesn't really mean much during peacetime," she says. "You forget what it's all about. But when we go to battle and see firsthand the sacrifices being made to keep us free, we're proud to be a part of that."