Veterans Day Spotlight: Two Nursing Leaders Tell Their Stories

Trocaire’s Catherine McAuley School of Nursing is led by two proud United States military veterans: Dr. Catherine M. Griswold and John Anderson Jr. ‘99. As dean and associate dean, respectively, they are leading Trocaire’s nursing programs into the future. In honor of Veterans Day, we asked these two nursing leaders about their military service and how it influenced their careers. Learn more in the following Q&As!

Catherine Griswold Army

Catherine M. Griswold

“The Army helped me overcome my fear of trying new things and believing in myself.”

Branch/Rank: United States Army, Private First Class

What led you to join the military? It was 1980, and the recession had taken a toll on jobs in Buffalo. I joined the army to start a career. I went to basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. I graduated top 10 in my  class (beating out 200 men- my only claim to fame) and I was sent to Fort Sam in Huston, Texas and trained as a lab tech.

Where did you serve? I was stationed at Walter Reed Medical Hospital in Maryland and was a lab technician working in microbiology, and was a part of the Infectious Disease team.

How did your military service influence your nursing career? I left the Army because I wanted to go to nursing school. There were no slots available at that time. Having served in the Army and working at Walter Reed gave me a lot of recognition in the early days of my career. Recruiters were very impressed with my background.

What is one thing you wish people knew about serving in the military? There is a sense of pride for the work you do, pride in caring for servicemen and women, pride in our country. It teaches you duty, responsibility, and organizational structure. I think that understanding the process of chain of command, and the utter sense of being competent and committed to my work has shaped my career. The Army helped me overcome my fear of trying new things and believing in myself.

 

John Anderson, Jr. ’99

John Anderson Navy

“In the Navy, I found out what I was great at and learned the confidence I was lacking.”

Branch/Rank: United States Navy, Corpsman (medic) Second Class. The Marines use Navy medics, and most of my service was with the Marines. The closest I ever got to a ship was driving by one.

What led you to join the military? I was a kid that had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. I was good at most things but great at nothing. I saw a lot of my friends that I played baseball with who were not going to college, out every night partying, and had no direction. I did not want to end up like that. My father was in the Navy and I remember all of the stories that he used to tell me. It was the best decision I ever made.

Where did you serve? Boot camp and Marine Corps training were in Great Lakes, Illinois. I started off working in the emergency room at the naval hospital in San Diego, California, and then I went overseas. I was sent to Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War, then to Mogadishu, Somalia, and finally to Okinawa, Japan, where I became a flight medic. I flew all over the Pacific transporting military and civilian personnel.

How did your military service influence your nursing career? I was a 150-pound kid afraid of his own shadow, but in the Navy I found out what I was great at and learned the confidence I was lacking. I learned that I love being a trauma nurse, and having to make the correct decision right now or someone is going to die. I understand that might sound bad, but when something goes wrong, I want someone like me there to help.

What is one thing you wish people knew about serving in the military? I have been out of the Navy for over 20 years now, and the best friends I have in this world are people that I served with. The bond that I share with those men and women is strong as steel.