The time men and women spend fighting for freedom will always stay with them. From experiences at boot camp to interactions in Iraq, they are forever changed. A time comes when they take off their service uniform and put on […]
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Committed to Country and Children

by Jill Taylor on July 4, 2014

in Patient and Staff Stories

The time men and women spend fighting for freedom will always stay with them. From experiences at boot camp to interactions in Iraq, they are forever changed.

A time comes when they take off their service uniform and put on another badge. They move forward with careers and families, while reflecting on the building blocks of what made them who they are today.

For two in the Marine Corps, they now have the chance to work with children at McLane Children’s Scott & White. They find meaning and purpose, while using their strengths they gained during their military service.

Showing Concern at the Counter

picJorita Wilson, works as a patient service specialist at the Hemingway Pediatric Clinic in Killeen. Wilson served in the Marine Corps 13 years ago, joining as a young adult. Wilson enlisted because she was determined to gain an education and is grateful for her training during those pivotal years.

She said being a Marine helped her find her voice and taught her the importance of teamwork and leadership. She was stationed in North Carolina and Hawaii and said they really try to break you down to build you up. Wilson stays in touch with friends made at boot camp, forming a lasting bond through the gas chambers, swimming survival and numerous road marches.

When asked about her time in the service Wilson said, “It lets me know that no matter what the situation is, you have to be part of your team and support them for the greater good and overall mission.”

Wilson is now part of the McLane Children’s Scott & White team. She works directly with patients and families and doesn’t let personalities or setbacks get in her way.

“From my experience, I can now adapt much easier,” says Wilson. “When you get everyone together you come in contact with different personalities and attitudes, and you have to stay cool.”

wilsonWilson says if a mother is running late or short-tempered as she checks in, Wilson can come from a place of understanding. Wilson has a daughter herself, and realizes there are a number of curves that come throughout the day.

“I’m here to keep everybody calm,” says Wilson. “If I have to rearrange a doctor’s schedule I just continue to smile and just get the job done.”

She loves working with children, especially watching them grow. She also sees children of military families and is grateful for those who are serving our country during war.

“I know what its like,” she says. “When your husband is gone and you have a child that’s sick, it can be nerve racking. We have a bond, and I’m glad I can relate in some way.”

Finding Meaning in Medications

On-the-steps-by-west-gateAnother Marine, Duane Fish now works as a pharmacist at McLane Children’s. He served in the Corps for more than 20 years, joining back in 1986.

Fish has had a number of pivotal experiences serving his country. He has spent time as a musician, armor, warrant officer, and even went overseas in Iraq.

While in Iraq he said they were constantly being attacked and rarely got a hot shower. He recalled a time when a low-ranking corporal asked for a drink of water, but the sergeant refused to give him the water because he didn’t like the way the man asked. This made Fish reflect on what is most important, which would be ensuring that Marines get enough water moving forward with their duties.

“What do I bring to the table?” Fish asks, “It’s a sense of mission and orientation. Whether it’s personality or logistics, I try to overcome them and get things moving forward.”

Also during his service, there was a poster that had special meaning to him. It pictured troops going over a bridge in Baghdad and read, “A call from operating forces is not a disruption from our daily routine.” This poster now hangs inside the door of his pharmacy. It reminds Fish that a call from a patient, doctor or anyone else is not an interruption, but the reason behind what he does.

“We are not the ones that are the important ones,” says Fish.

pic2Fish works with a number of other pharmacists who are specially trained to administer medications, proper dosages and IVs to children in the hospital. He gives the right drug information and makes recommendations on the pharmacologic care of children.

“I sit on the bed with the kids and talk to them, look them in the eye and say ‘You’re going to become the expert on diabetes,’” says Fish.

Whether it’s counseling about diabetes or evaluating a child’s medication regimen for another disease, Fish tries to be encouraging and manage his time effectively.

“In combat you have a defined enemy. What is the enemy in the hospital setting? It’s time and death, and you’re always fighting against those two things.”

Fish says he absolutely loves what he does. It has been a long road from the day he joins the Marines but is grateful for his dynamic career and experiences.

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