Since graduating from Lourdes, Captain Amanda Merritt ('04, BSN, Nursing) has traveled the globe, honed her nursing skills and come into her own as a leader. Attending Lourdes while enrolled in The University of Toledo ROTC program, Amanda enlisted in the army after receiving her bachelor degree in nursing.
In the last five years, she has served as a Medical Surgical Nurse at Fort Bliss, Texas in El Paso; as an ICU/Flight Nurse in Baghdad, Iraq; and as a Charge Nurse of Same Day Surgery at Fort Bliss. Currently, she is Head Nurse of the Eisenhower Executive Health Suite at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Of her tour in Iraq, Amanda notes, "This was the best time and worst time in my life, all rolled into one."
What has brought her the most joy and fulfillment in her life is helping those in need.
"The moment you pick up an injured soldier on the battlefield and make it back to base is something I truly treasure," she says.
"A more poignant memory was when I recognized a soldier by his unique tattoo two years after my tour. I asked him when he was injured and I introduced myself to him and explained where and when we had met before. Tears came into his eyes and he thanked me. At no time in my life have I ever felt more accomplishment."
In her capacity as Head Nurse at the Eisenhower Executive Health Suite, Amanda and her crew are relied on to treat an elite VIP list of patients that could include the United States president, vice president, his cabinet members and secretaries, supreme court justices, congressional leaders, senators, general officers and medal of honor recipients.
"I chose to enlist in the army because I wanted to be a productive member of society and to help those in need," adds Amanda.
"I have always idolized US soldiers. Being in the service is about putting others' needs ahead of your own. Being part of something larger; being part of a real team. No place in society do you have a 'buddy' that will step in front of a bullet for you.
"I always try to do my best to live my life by the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage."
Not only is Amanda a respected leader among the nurses she supervises, she is also a great mentor for current Lourdes students.
During fall semester, Amanda shared her experiences in the nursing profession as a panel member of the School of Nursing's "Graduate School and Beyond" presentation. Her personal story of success and perseverance has been inspirational to senior-level students.
Her advice to those just beginning their nursing career is simple. "Take charge of your own career," she says. "Always continue your education and never stop learning. There is always something new out there to discover."