|SO you think it can't get any worse....
||[Sep. 20th, 2005|06:24 pm]
I've had to write two - one thousand word essays for not meeting the standards at my company. The standards are retarded. Last week during PT formation, we are all standing there in our summer PTs. Without warning we were told that we were to go to our cars or lockers and return with out full set of winter PTs withen two minutes. Mind you it is 70 degrees outside so actually wearing winter PTs is out of regulation. However, at Bravo company it was put out that we were to have a full set of winter PTs on us at all times no matter what the weather. My PT jacket was turned into the cleaners cause it was dirty so naturally I didn't have it. Me and 23 other people did not have the full set either. So, we were given our punishment on paper. 3,000 words on : The Importance of Following Directions and Being Prepared to Include its Impact on Military Readiness.
You have got to be damn kidding me. So how was my weekend? I spent my whole weekend writing a 3000 word essay and washing cars at the car wash that I was volun-told I had to be at. I'm so tired now. Bleh... I was also advised by my sergeant that if that ever happens again I might want to invest in a full other set of winter IPFUs. Great. $100 I spent so that I meet retarded and sensless standards.
Here is the essay....
The Importance of Following Directions and Being Prepared to Include its Impact on Military Readiness.
19 September 2005
Private First Class ---------
For SFC -------
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
People join the military thinking they are being hired for a job. It isn’t until a person has been in the military that they find it is a way of life. It is an adjustment that does not come easily. Along the way a young soldier will learn many values and learn to live by the soldier’s creed. It is to be hoped that a soldier is brought into the Army with the core Army values: loyalty, duty, honor, respect, integrity, selfless-service, and personal courage. This isn’t always the case. Depending on how a soldier was raised and the environment they grew up in, they may not have many of these core values. In this case, making the transition from civilian to soldier is not an easy task. I was lucky to have been raised to have these values already in my life. It is other aspects of the life of a soldier that are harder to adjust to.
In the soldier’s creed, we claim to be a warrior and a member of a team. Making myself into a warrior who is expected to kill another person if their unit is threatened is a task that was hard for me to follow. As for working as a member of a team, that is something that I love doing in the first place. The soldier’s creed has four warrior ethos that define a soldier much like the 7 Army values. (1). I will always place the mission first. Learning to do this is not as easy as it sounds. As a combat medic we are trained to save in the field during battle. As a combat medic we have to remember that we are soldiers first and if using the time necessary to save a life compromises our mission then we must move on with the mission. (2). I will never accept defeat. By accepting defeat we in turn say our enemy has won. We have not accomplished our mission and have failed. (3). I will never quit. When we quit we fail. We let our unit down and faith our mission. We may find 10,000 ways to not complete the mission, but we have found 10,000 ways it does not work. The key is not quitting. (4). I will never leave a fallen comrade. If we leave a man behind we have not only failed them, we have failed ourselves as humans, to leave our own for the enemy. These warrior ethos are distinct parts of the soldier’s creed, words that we live by. The key aspect of the soldier’s creed that will be highlighted in this paper is: Always maintaining my, arms, my equipment, and myself.
On Thursday, September 15, 23 soldiers from the PNC junior class were asked to write a 3,000 word essay on the importance of military readiness; having all your equipment ready and accessible at all times. These soldiers did not have all of their full physical fitness uniform, to include the summer uniform, full IPFU set, white socks above the ankle, running shoes, and reflective belt. Living in Washington State where it the phrase around the natives is “Don’t like the weather here? Wait five minutes,” it is necessary to always be prepared for any kind of weather. With the rapid changing weather we must always be prepared for rain and cold.
This doesn’t just apply to the physical fitness uniform. It applies with all aspects of our job. Having all equipment necessary in working order is the key to military readiness. As a soldier we must have our weapon cleaned and ready to protect ourselves and our unit. If we do not have it maintained when we need it to be reliable and working, it may jam-up. This may cause injury to ourselves or to our unit because we were not able to protect ourselves. Soldiers need to inspect their other equipment as well. They need to test their gas masks for functionality. If a gas mask fails to work properly, it may as well be left at home.
As a combat medic, we must always have our medical aide bags stocked with all the supplies needed. On deployments our unit depends on us to have all the equipment and supplies needed to care for soldiers with some common injuries. If we were to be negligent when packing our aide bags and did not put in any occlusive dressings, we may not be able to treat a soldier with a bullet wound.
As a nurse in the hospital it is crucial that we have our equipment maintained. We must always have the emergency room stocked with needed supplies that are in good working condition. Medicines cannot be expired, batteries in equipment must be charged at all times, and unnecessary equipment must be stored out of the way.
In the operating room, the nurse must maintain a sterile field. All equipment must be free of disease causing organisms. The nurse must pay attention to the status of the patient and inspect to be sure that all monitoring equipment and tubing is attached correctly to the patient. If a Foley catheter comes loose and urine escapes from the tube and bladder, the sterile field is grossly contaminated and the procedure cannot continue until sterility is under control again. Nurses must maintain their own equipment as well. They need to be sure their face masks are properly protecting themselves. If they do not fit properly they may be exposing themselves to airborne pathogens that can be fatal or debilitating to themselves, other medical service providers and other patients.
As part of a nurse’s job, they are expected to deliver medications to patients without mistakes. They need to calculate medication doses without error. One or two numbers off in a calculation can be the difference between life and death in a patient; especially in the elderly and the very young. Calculating the medication dozes does is not all that the nurse is to be aware of. Having the discipline to ask the patient what medications he or she is allergic to prior to dispensing the medication is equally important. If a patient is allergic to morphine and the nurse forgets to check for allergies, the patient may go into shock within minutes. It is also important the medication that is being administered is given by the correct route, time, to the right patient, and it is documented correctly. If one of these points is wrong, the nurse may have made a serious mistake. Maintaining the knowledge that nurses have in regards to delivering medication is a crucial part of safe nursing.
It is obvious how important it is to maintain Army readiness by and having access to all working equipment. So the question is, why do we sometimes fail at doing what is right? I have a number of theories as to why we do not always have everything in order, but I can’t speak for every one that has even failed in their life, nor can I speak for the 23 people in our class that didn’t bring part of their uniform to class.
I take a look at the people that are writing their 3,000 word essays and decide that many of them are “squared away”. I haven’t been perfect in my stay at B. Company MAMC, but I refuse to believe that I am a bad soldier, along with other soldiers that are called out for the things they do wrong. I have heard it said that success seems to always occur in private, and failure in full view. It is easy to notice when someone does something wrong. It is harder for many people to see when someone does the right thing and many times it goes unnoticed.
If a group of people are instructed to do something that seems senseless many are not going to see the purpose of it. This causes me to think that some people may not be too concerned with “senseless” instructions, and are perhaps ignorant. Ignorant to the fact that maybe it isn’t the instruction in itself, but the ability to follow instructions in the first place. "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." (King, 1) This famous quote by Martin L. King Jr. holds strong even today. Although some soldiers may not see the point in bringing the full set of the physical training uniform when it is 70 degrees outside, they may not understand that it isn’t the act in bringing the uniform, but the act of following the direction to do so. This may reflect how a soldier may react to instructions given in the future that may seem senseless at the time but will make sense later. The seemingly senseless instruction may be crucial to the task at hand.
Another trend that I see is that during the hustle and rush of the early mornings, we tend to forget the things we need during the day. This is caused by poor time management and attention to detail. This can be solved in several ways. For one thing, putting together all necessary items for the next day, the night before not only saves time, but creates less stress. Making a list of what needs to be done throughout the day makes it less likely to forget the important tasks to be done. By keeping an organized planner – and using it – it enables people to manage their time better and better see what needs to be done before the first formation of the day.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Churchill, 2). This quote is necessary to hear during times of failure, especially when people try to do the right thing. Winston Churchill emphasizes the importance of moving on past the failure; to learn from it and grow and to use the gained knowledge to do better in the future. That being said, how do we do that?
When soldiers are given directions, they are given by non-commissioned and commissioned officers. Our leaders know something we don’t. By listening to our leaders, they may show us things we don’t know, by their own experience and what has been taught to them. So how best do we do this? To find success we must raise ourselves to the standard because the standard will never lower itself to us. When directions are given out, it is more than likely that they are given to a platoon size group. Because of this we must work together to be successful with every direction given. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Keller, 3). We are an Army of One… we work together to carry out the mission, to succeed and not fail. If one person fails to follow through with instructions, then the team fails as a whole. The soldier that failed at his task failed his unit, and his unit failed him to make sure he was able to succeed. We must work together, to bring everyone up to the standard that is set, so that no man is left behind to fall sub-standard.
Reaching the standard is not an easy task when the standards are high. It is even more challenging to make sure others meet the standard as well. One of the greatest things a soldier can do to bring others up to the standard is by way of motivating them. “Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people” (Iacocca, 4). The strategy of Lee Iacocca (one of the most recognized businessman in the world) is to motivate others to meet the standard. Follow through with instructions that have been put out. For example, a three thousand word essay, Saturday school, and counseling statements are tools that will cause many people to find ways to adhere to the standard. There are a lot more painless ways of meeting the standard and following directions however.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” (Ryun, 5). I have already discussed the importance of being organized and managing time well. It is equally important to bring these strategies into strong habits that are made a part of daily life. These good habits will not just make you successful one day but will continue to remain a part of life. By instilling these habits into daily routine, and encouraging others to do the same, it will make being prepared for class and ready to be successful much easier.
Many times at the end of long days, we tend to procrastinate. We set aside the things that we should do, with the things we want to do. The problem with procrastination is that it doesn’t allow us to budget our time. In many cases time may be our worst enemy; what we never seem to have enough of. “Procrastination is the thief of time” (Young, 6). We can never get back the time that we use doing things that we don’t have to do. It is that time that we waste that could have prepared us for class, made our uniform look a little nicer, or made us ready to learn for the next day. It is also necessary to have “me” time worked into the day. This must be budgeted around the things that really must be done. It takes discipline to study for a big test rather than go out and see that new movie. It is being responsible for what is important.
To be successful it is important to learn from the mistakes that are made. The only real mistake made is the one we have no learned from. “When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power” (White, 7). By looking forward to the future, taking a mistake that is made as a learning experience, you’d be better prepared for what else may be thrown at you. The person that is successful is the one who can lay the foundation with the strong bricks that are thrown at him. The only way that someone can catch those bricks is by knowing how to handle them. The best way to do that is to know what works and what doesn’t work by using the past experiences of successes and failures.
It is crucial to be confident in your abilities. I know that nobody will ask me to do anything that I am not capable of doing. So I need to do what is expected of me using my motivation and attitude that I show while doing my daily tasks. “Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it” (Holtz, 8). It is one thing to carry out what is expected of you with a bad attitude and a whole other thing when you have a positive attitude. A person’s attitude is contagious. “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life” (Anon 9). Showing up at work with a bad attitude sets the tone for others as well. It causes them to not do as well and the overall success of the day is jeopardized.
While having a positive attitude it is also important to perform on a level beyond what is expected of you. “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself” (Beecher, 10). By reaching for a standard higher than the set level, it sets a person up for success. There is a very popular saying that I’ve heard all my life: Reach for the stars! Though this is an inspiring quote I tend to like the quote my English professor used: Strive for the moon, if you fall short you still land among the stars. Using this belief it prepares me to be successful in my day.
Some directions are not easily endured. Day to day instructions at the practical nurse course are somewhat easy to follow. It is when soldiers are sent out to fight a war that some instructions are harder to handle. When we are ordered to Iraq knowing we will be facing danger and new conditions, we will react differently to the instructions given to us. This is when we may have to face fear. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do” (Roosevelt, 11). When we are challenged with a task that we complete to the best of our ability, it strengthens us and prepares us for what may come in the future.
In order to be successful in the military and in all professions we must follow directions to the best of or ability. We must prepare ourselves by maintaining our equipment and having it easily accessible. It is necessary to do these things to be ready to handle anything that may be asked of us. As nurses and as soldiers we are expected to adhere to a standard. By doing so we must follow directions with a positive attitude to maintain military readiness.