GILLEM ENCLAVE, Ga. –
For many Army Reserve medical officers, they have a career filled with deployments and medical support missions to prepare them for the unexpected. This is not the case for 1st Lt. Michael Dolan, a 66S, critical care nurse, who has only two drill weekends under his belt.
When initially notified that the unit was on alert for mobilization, they asked for volunteers to fill in mission slots and even though Dolan has not completed his Basic Officer Leadership Course, he volunteered. A native of Jacksonville, Dolan is a graduate of the University of North Florida for Nursing BSN and Brockport State University of New York for Exercise Physiology jumped at the opportunity to be a part of UAMTF 332-1, in Newark N.J.
“I was excited to potentially be involved in this mission, and I knew that critical care nurses were likely going to be in demand so I volunteered immediately. Even though I was still very new to the military I felt confident that my experience as a critical care nurse would still be a valuable asset to the mission,” said Dolan.
“I was astounded by the speed that we have been able to deploy resources and mobilize the UAMTFs to areas of need,” said Dolan.
Seventy-two hours after notification, Dolan was traveling from Jacksonville to Fort Campbell. Once there, Soldiers from Florida joined the rest of the Soldiers assigned to UAMTF 332-1 and headed off to University Hospital in Newark, N.J.
“The most memorable day for me was our first day in Newark when we toured the facility. The hospital staff was so thankful and relieved to be receiving our help, some of them had tears in their eyes when they greeted us. It was very humbling to see a hospital in this state and to know that the help we provided could be the difference in preventing catastrophe for this hospital,” said Dolan.
Supporting a mission like this was why Dolan joined the military, “I joined because I wanted a new experience that would challenge me to grow my existing skill set and also learn new things,” said Dolan. Adding, “Not many officers get the opportunity to be part of a mobilization so soon after commissioning. I was surrounded by a strong group of experienced officers who were happy to share their knowledge and experience with me. During my time, I learned a wealth of information about army leadership and organization that will be indispensable.”
On his new-found experiences, Dolan said, “This experience has been one of the most challenging, humbling, and also rewarding experiences of my life. It has been amazing to know that we are a part of something bigger. Every day I worked was a challenge to provide the best possible healthcare to these critically sick patients and has required me to deploy all my skills and experience as a critical care nurse.”
Looking back on the mission and on starting his military career, Dolan said, “This experience has been life changing for me. I feel like I have had the opportunity to really answer the call in a time of need for my country. The people I have gotten to know and experience that I have gained from this mission will be with me forever.”
After returning home and settling back into life’s new normal, Dolan wanted to thank the people of Newark and employees at University Hospital. “Thank you to everyone who supported us during our mission and thanked us so graciously as we prepared to depart. Our short time in Newark was marked (by) adversity and long hours for both the 332-1 and civilian employees of University Hospital, but we rose to the occasion to provide the best health care possible.”