By: Nick Morales
Finding your purpose can be a life long journey for some, however the path this Veteran went down made itself clear during deployment. When Units prepare to go downrange there is a program call S.R.P or Soldier Readiness Processing that qualifies Soldiers for pending deployments. It was there that Sky Lord’s vision would be made clear.
Part of this program is battlefield focused training to include; weapons qualifications, customs and courtesies, specific job preparedness, and medical training C.L.S. or Combat Life Saver. This training has three stages with the overarching theme of Tactical Combat Casualty Care.
- Care under fire
- Tactical field care
- Casualty evacuation care.
Lord went on to serve in Iraq, specifically in Sadr City from 2007-2009 as an MP (Military Police) upon returning from deployment she began to miss the brother and sisterhood that was forged while downrange. Lord began signing up for deployments with other units in an effort to get back the feeling that wasn’t easy to replicate.
Lord was faced with a difficult decision, she served in the North Dakota Army National Guard and during the surge you had to either get promoted or leave military service. She searched for Units that were deploying to volunteer to go back downrange, but to no avail because Units had all the Soldiers they needed. Lord had to look for what was next and this would bring her back full circle with a skill she fell in love with.
Sky always had high standards, the skills she learned in the Military would aide her in finding her path. Lord didn’t let her past success while in uniform define who she is, rather using it as a stepping stone to accomplish whatever she set out to do.
Attending College after the Military is tough, battling the thoughts like, I’m the oldest one here, what am I doing here, am I good enough? Lord enrolled in the University of South Florida where she began studying to be a nurse in one of the most rigorous programs the school has to offer. Remember her passion for medicine started during CLS and she leveraged it to forge a new path.
Maintaining her focus Sky accomplished a feet that set her apart from the other 400 students in the course. Applying the same work ethic that got her through 15 months in Iraq, she became a shining star for the Nursing Program.
Sky graduated from the USF Nursing Program with a perfect 4.0 average! But it doesn’t stop there… Number 1 in her class and the only one earning the honor of Summa Cum Laude which is reserved for GPAs of 3.8 - 4.0.
Pursing career goals while doing something you love is rare, however it’s not impossible. Sky began working at a local hospital in Largo, Florida and it was there that she began to see for herself the impact that being a Veteran can bring to the healthcare field.
One of these instances solidified her “WHY”, while on the shift at the hospital other nurses didn’t know how to talk to a particular patient, he became difficult to care for due to his demeanor and choice adjectives. Sky walked into the room and immediately noticed he was a Veteran. In a stern voice, covered in compassion and understanding, she was able to get to the core of the issue with this patient and render the care he so desperately needed.
Sky is a recipient of the the DAISY Award, which is given to select nurses who display extraordinary compassion to their patients and families.
Sometimes we look at our experiences and wonder if they have any value, it was at that moment that she accepted her new mission and as a result her career began to blossom.
Then the pandemic hit, hospital protocols changed and Sky would be faced with challenging times seeing people come in the ICU and not leave. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or (ECMO) became the treatment yielding the most promising results for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Becoming an expert in this modality of care took a toll on Sky, despite the surrounding circumstances Sky’s perseverance and drive kept her in the fight.
Being on the front lines for Sky is nothing new, From Iraq and now to the ICU during the COVID-19 crisis, it’s forged her into the person and the Nurse she is today. Sky’s experiences have opened doors which she never thought possible.
Life brings challenges, and difficult times. Like the famous quote “when preparation meets opportunity it results in success.”
She just accepted the Position of Charge Nurse (Platoon Sgt.) of the Cardiothoracic ICU, where she will use her skillset to coach, teach and mentor other nurses. The nurses under her charge will be providing care, while constantly evaluating extremely sick patients that can take a bad turn at any moment.
Sky Lord, thank you for being a Beteran!