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AARP Salutes Catherine Schempp

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[♪ music ♪] [With pride and gratitude AARP presents] [Catherine Schempp, Colonel, US Army Nurse Corps, Retired] [Catherine Schempp] My name is Catherine Mary Schempp. I was in the US Army and I was an Army Nurse Corps Officer. I was an ICU nurse. When you're in an ICU environment, it's about a team— a team of people taking care of a group of patients. So despite the fact that I thought I would only be in for 4 years and maybe do some Reserve time, I immediately knew this was my path. The Corpsmen that you usually work with were the Vietnam medic. They taught you everything you needed to know. They knew everything. They were incredible providers of care. But I think what was important to me was—and it is a little emotional because you do take care of patients— I think it was about the trust people have in you. The loved ones. I think probably the most important experience I ever had was I had taken care of this man. Even though I think I was a very junior nurse, I looked at him and I assessed the fact that this guy is not going to do well. His wife and I think his daughter was with him and he needed to go to surgery. They said, "But before we go, we would like to have a priest." And the surgeon came in. He goes, "I'm ready to take the patient." And I said, "Well, the priest hasn't gotten here yet." [laughing] The family was all distressed, and he was kind of pressuring me. I said, "Well, he's not moving. The family has asked for a priest. I'll take care of him." "And when the priest gets here I'll let you know." He went back down to the OR and the priest did show up. And he went to the OR. He didn't make it. A year later this patient came in and she was very ill and there was this woman with her, and she looked up at me and she said, "Oh, don't you remember me?" I said, "I'm sorry. I don't." And she goes, "Oh, you were the one who made sure that my husband saw a priest." And it's that kind of thing that is important. In America we're very lucky to have a military that I think has a huge pride in the servicemen and women. They want you to be successful. They give you every tool to be successful. And they provide leaders that help you along the way. Every time I turned around I was given another chance to do something different, whether I was an educator, an administrator, a clinician. Each time I was a leader and I was able to achieve things that I didn't think I could do. And that was amazing. I don't think it's easy to leave. [laughing] And in fact, when you do 30 years there is a point where there's a mandatory time to retire. Over the years you pretty much get an identity of being in a uniform. People called you colonel. My father always called me colonel. Hanging up your uniform and all the kind of medals you had achieved during your career, in the end they remind you that there's a grateful nation. I can't imagine my life not having done it. I'm very proud of my service. [♪ music ♪] [Veterans - May your service to our country never be forgotten...]

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 5 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 170
Posted by: aarp on Oct 30, 2013

Catherine Schempp, Colonel Retired US Army Nurse Corps. Colonel Schempp dedicated thirty years of her life to the US Army as a nurse and says the US Army saw things in her she could see herself. Colonel Schempp was responsible for relocating Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the National Navel Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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