Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq

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Kelly Bowman plans to cool her jets for a while after an early career best described as a baptism by fire. The 2003 nursing alumna joined the Navy while a UT Arlington student and spent eight months as an emergency room nurse before deploying to Iraq. There she realized how her college training prepared her for battlefield chaos and helped her develop coping skills. “In Iraq you’re alone (with the patient) in that aircraft. It’s just you,” the former flight nurse says. “It makes you appreciate the little things, like a crash cart that’s fully stocked. So when you get to a hospital, you don’t get too flustered about anything. My professors believed I was capable of handling certain situations, and they put me in them.” In a shift during her senior year, three of her four patients coded and “people were dying and bleeding internally, but it was OK to carry on.” Bowman later trained Marine corpsmen on new standards for casualty evacuations to medical ships in the Middle East. After stints at Bethesda, Md., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., naval medical centers, she is leaving the military and returning to North Texas for a civilian nursing career. “I gave the military a lot of my life,” she says. “I’m ready to put down roots.”

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