Nurses Week Spotlight: Corey Martzall, Combat Medic/ICU RN
Nurses Week Spotlight: Corey Martzall
Corey Martzall, now an ICU RN, launched his medical career during six years of service in the PA Army National Guard as a Healthcare Specialist (68W) (otherwise known as a combat medic). He recalls the instant he grasped the importance of his job. “I realized that at any moment the training I had done might be needed – and I was just praying I had the ability to meet my responsibility to the men. The adrenaline, the heat, the unknown … all of it was weighing down on us as we went outside the wire.” His company provided level 2 care, just off the front line in combat or work environments, which included evacuating soldiers to be stabilized until they could be sent to a higher level of care and basic ancillary support to treat and diagnose as needed. He describes the environment as “slightly less sophisticated than a MASH unit,” so you can imagine the adaptability and quick response time these professionals needed to possess.
Martzall rose to the occasion, but soon grasped that the position entailed so much more than just tending to immediate injuries. He recounts two instances when one of their units was out on patrol and they encountered a suicide bomber and, a week later, a car bomb. They lost a 19-year old soldier in the first event – and that loss, and the events themselves, took their toll on the spirits of the unit’s medic and other men involved. At this point the role of RN extended so far beyond the typical job description. “Our job was to evaluate and provide mental health support,” Martzall explains. “Taking the time to listen to them and having them express themselves allowed me to see how important our role was in helping them not bottle up their emotions and to remain mission ready. This strengthened our relationships as they had now come to realize that we were there to do everything we could to keep them alive – and get them home – if something were to happen.”
Given the chance to do it all over again, this talented RN wouldn’t change a thing. “I made the right decision, joining the military,” says Martzall. He had originally become a medic after working briefly as a nursing assistant while searching for the right career choice, and that role gave him the opportunity to further his training and skills, as well as the financial means to work towards his goal of becoming an RN. “It taught me discipline, perseverance and time management that has helped me in my career – and it gave me the opportunity to finish my education and realize my career goal.”
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