“I am a Navy Nurse Corps officer, stationed at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), working as a Post Anesthesia Care Unit registered nurse.”
Mattson, a Idaho Fall, Idaho native and Bonneville High School 2004 graduate, was selected on March 10, 2019, for the Navy’s Perioperative Nurse Training Program, a highly sought-after and challenging assignment – and nursing specialty – to prepare a registered nurse like Mattson to work in both inpatient and outpatient settings providing highly technical and critical patient-centered care to those in need.
“Her selection is a testament to her pursuit of professional excellence and sustained superior performance, said Capt. Jeffrey W. Bitterman, NHB commanding officer.
Mattson, also a 2013 graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina, provides a whirlwind of support to NHB well beyond her normal range of clinical responsibilities, as testament by her collateral duty involvement as Command Fitness Leader, Nurse Corps Sponsor Coordinator, command Sexual Assault Prevention Response point-of-contact, Nurses Association President, junior voting member of the Nursing Executive Committee, and serving on the Medical Record Review Board committee.
As one who began her Navy career joining right out of high school to become a hospital corpsman, her interest in Navy Medicine happened almost as an afterthought.
“Honestly, I joined the Navy because my dad always said ‘every able bodied person should, in some capacity, serve their country.’ I joined the medicine side because he was a hospital corpsman and it seemed like a steady job at the time,” said Mattson.
The majority of her career before being assigned to NHB was on the east coast, but she has also been stationed overseas in Italy, as well as deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in 2008-2009, where she helped with organizing medical attention for combat injuries via medical evacuation by helicopter and ambulance in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As a hospital corpsman, she was an assistant leading petty officer and leading petty officer, and after earning her commission in the Nurse Corps, her overlapping duties include staff registered nurse, charge nurse and interim division officer. She counts her most exciting assignment to date when she worked at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, located in the Washington, D.C. area.
“When I was a hospital corpsman second class in Bethesda at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, I was on the Medical Evaluation and Treatment Unit team where we took care of the president of the United States and his family when they came to the hospital. So anytime he would visit the hospital – I was there for President Barack Obama – to see the Wounded Warriors or had an appointment, we would make sure hallways/elevators were accessible to them. It’s one of my best memories, meeting him and his wife and taking pictures with them,” related Mattson.
From what initially seemed like a random occupational choice gradually morphed into a career commitment to the field of medicine, specifically in nursing. Mattson did her due diligence to advance from the Navy enlisted ranks to become a Navy officer. A Navy Nurse Corps office to be more precise.
“I applied to the Nurse Corps because I knew that if I were able to receive my bachelor of science in nursing degree that I’d be set for when I eventually got out of the Navy. Continuing as a nurse in the Nurse Corps was kind of a no brainer. The Navy paid for my schooling and now I get to work with the Navy’s finest,” shared Mattson.
Her affinity for working in the hospital’s operating room setting led to her applying – and being accepted – for the Perioperative Nurse Training Program.
I’ve always been a fan of the operating room staff. They always seem to love their job. Being accepted into this training just adds to that. I really like the idea of being that voice for when the patient can’t have one. I know how scary surgery is and it’s nice knowing that my main job as a Peri-op Nurse is to be that patient’s advocate,” Mattson explained.
Mattson notes that the best part of her career in Navy Medicine is the friends she has gained from all walks of life, and acknowledging that it has been difficult at times to not always be available for such special moments like weddings and births.
The most fun? “All of the places I have travelled and (been) stationed. I love history and it’s been great seeing monuments or historical sites in person,” Mattson said.
And the most challenging? “I’m a rebel at heart and what I want to do most is dye my hair blue,” she quipped.
Navy Medicine’s renewed emphasis on operational and mission readiness has Mattson providing influence and guidance to NHB’s approximately 750 military personnel.
“I feel that my job as the command fitness leader contributes to readiness even more than my job in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit does. I try to help members who need assistance working out so that they can remain healthy and ready for whatever the Navy needs us for,” explained Mattson.
When asked to could sum up her experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, Mattson replied, “When I was in high school, my mother paid me $20 to just ‘talk’ to the recruiters. My one sentence to sum up my experience would be, (that’s) $20.00 well spent.”
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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