From Corpsman To Nurse Corps
by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley
December 26, 2019
Naval Hospital Bremerton’s (NHB) Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP) coordinator, Nurses Association, and Nursing Professional Development Committee hosted a meet-and-greet for enlisted Sailors interested in pursuing a commission in Navy Medicine on October 15, 2019.
The meet-and-greet was tailored to provide an informal setting for curious Sailors to talk to nurses with various specialties in the Nurse Corps community. It was designed to provide further information for Sailors wanting to utilize the MECP.
October 15, 2019 - Lt. Renee Mimbela, a Navy nurse assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), middle, talks with Sailors assigned within Navy Region Northwest during a Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP) meet-and-greet. MECP is a pathway to commission in the Navy Nurse Corps and is available to enlisted active duty Sailors and Marines, giving those selected an opportunity to earn an entry-level bachelor’s degree in nursing. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan Riley)
“We wanted to open up today and have an informational session for anyone that was interested in the MECP program,” said Lt. Cmdr. Candice Kline, who helped organize the event with Lt. Daria Seipel-Tyra, NHB’s MECP coordinator. “It is an opportunity for enlisted Sailors of various rates to come actually hear from Navy nurses and ask questions to find out what it is like to be a Nurse Corps officer or even how to submit a MECP package.”
Kline said that Sailors throughout the region have reached out to her to shadow nurses at the hospital.
“We don’t have a shadow policy in place,” she said. “We are trying to work through some of the legal concerns with having one. So I thought this would be a good started point for people to meet up and get information.”
According to the Navy Medicine website, MECP is a pathway to commission in the Navy Nurse Corps. It’s available to enlisted active duty Sailors and Marines, giving those selected an opportunity to earn an entry-level bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Lt. Renee Mimbela, a Navy nurse assigned to NHB, said the event was made available to any interested candidates stationed throughout Navy Region Northwest. She emphasized that Sailors and Marines aboard ships may not have the same resources available to them as the hospital does.
“We sent out emails to the ships and other commands that may not have the information that we have,” said Mimbela. “Working at a hospital, we have nurses that have gone through the program which those on a ship or other commands may not have for information.”
The word got out, and Sailors from all over the region attended the gathering.
“It’s great anytime you can talk to somebody that has been through the program, “ said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Joseph Del Giudice, assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). “I knew a little bit about this program, and there are a lot of options within this program. So it’s definitely nice to have the opportunity to talk with somebody face to face.”
Mimbela echoed the importance of being able to meet face to face and share information in a personal setting.
“I believe it’s important to have the face to face because it’s more tangible, it’s more personable,” she said. “Meeting a nurse that has gone through it, that was enlisted at one point but is now a Navy officer makes it more feasible for that Sailor to see that they can do it too if they want to.”
This was the first of what Kline hopes to be many events promoting MECP, with hopes to have the next one in the spring.
“It is important that we are mentoring,” said Kline. “If that means starting before you apply, I think that’s a great opportunity. It’s our chance to groom potential Navy nurses… This is the first one, and in the spring we are really going to start gearing towards serious applicants because they are going to need to be putting those packages together.”
NHB supports more than 60,000 military families in West Puget Sound, shaping military medicine through training, mentoring and research to ensure a ready medical force and operationally ready force.
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