Dennis Lytle was nervous about returning to school after 25 years, but excited, very excited. After serving in the U.S. Military he was ready to put his protective instincts into action another way: through medicine.
Lytle is one of nearly a hundred veterans at Adventist University of Health Sciences who have found healthcare a perfect fit for a new profession. With the skills they’ve developed in the military—the ability to assess situations, work well under pressure, and apply first aid to a variety of injuries—veterans have a natural advantage when training for careers in healthcare.
“We have experience,” Lytle says. “And a lot of things healthcare professionals have to do—things that may bother other people—don’t bother us.”
Their added perspective also adds motivation.
“When you’re deployed you see a lot of things,” Lytle says. “And I think it gives a lot of us veterans the sense that we want to spend our lives helping people when we get out of the military.”
Adventist University does all it can to help vets interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. As a Yellow Ribbon Program participant, the University offers post-9/11 vets financial aid to cover the extra cost incurred by choosing a private institution. The school also has an informal network of student veterans who lend each other support with classes and the challenges that sometimes come with returning to school.
“Just the presence of other vets and their emails is encouraging,” says Stefanie Fierman, veteran and freshman nursing major. “When I have a problem I turn to them before anyone else. Those who have already been through the process can usually point me in the right direction.”
As another resource, the University has recently created a new section on it’s website—adu.edu/veterans—to help veterans through the sometimes-tricky process of filling out paperwork and applying for benefits.
“My advice to veterans thinking of going back to college?” Lytle says. “Just do it. Once you get your feet wet, it will be fine.”
By Rainey Park