Northwest Iowa Community College now has over 13,000 alumni. While a majority of graduates enter common jobs related to their program of study, a select few choose to take “the road less traveled.” NCC is proud to highlight Susanna Schriever an alumna that has taken a less traditional path in her career trajectory. Many programs at NCC can boast that they have a variety of career options for graduates to enter upon graduation. Susanna’s story proves this to be true.
Program: Associate Degree Nursing ’17
Current Position: EMT/Tactical Combat Casual Care Instructor/Medic/Nurse, Air Force
Experience at NCC
My time in the nursing program at NCC was invaluable. I have used many of the skills acquired in nursing school in my various roles held in the Air Force. Having my RN degree has given me huge advantages as I have progressed through my career.
Path after NCC
I began Air Force Basic Training in November of 2017. I was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I was honored to be named Top Airman out of my class of 712 graduates. I was honored during the Coin Ceremony, which marks the transition of recruits into Airman status.
Upon my graduation from the Air Force, I received additional nursing and medic training at Fort Sam Houston and graduated at the top of my class in May of 2018. I went on to spend six weeks at Elgin Air Force Base in Destin, Florida, where I was placed in a base hospital and worked in a variety of capacities as both a medic and a nurse.
Then I was placed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The years of 2019–2020 were busy as I took on more teaching responsibilities at Andrews. My time in the nursing program at NCC was invaluable as one of my nursing Instructors, Dawn Recher, loved teaching trauma nursing. I was able to apply much of what I learned in my new role as an EMT and TCCC (tactical combat casualty care) instructor. It was my job to train and certify nearly 300 Air Force medics in prolonged field care, prehospital transportation, and advanced life support. Also, during this time, I finished my Bachelor’s in Nursing. I was able to finish my degree while working in the COVID treatment tents at Andrews.
These experiences prepared me well for when I deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in 2021. During my 6 months in Saudi, I had many different roles including clinic work, EMS, patient transport & evacuation, and flightline emergency response. I was able to do everything from wrap sprained ankles to manage a MasCal, or mass casualty, emergency to participate in drills with the Army and Marines. Toward the end of my deployment, I was very involved in the Afghanistan evacuation and was able to provide medical care for thousands of refugees.
What led you to your current position? As a student at NCC, did you ever imagine you would hold your current position?
I have always had a desire to do mission work and this has been a goal of mine since my years at NCC. This is my final year in the Air Force as I will separate in June of 2022. This fall, I plan to move to Southeast Asia to do full time missions work. Both my time at NCC and in the Air Force have been instrumental in preparing me for the mission field. The knowledge and skills I have gained will help me better serve people around the world as I seek to share the hope of the gospel.
Any advice you have for individuals entering the healthcare field?
I have two pieces of advice I would give to someone starting the nursing program or another healthcare program. The first is to never lose your sense of compassion. It is easy to get into the everyday doldrums and become cynical toward your patients or your job. Don’t forget why you started healthcare in the first place. The second piece of advice I have is to take every opportunity to get hands-on experience. There will be times during simulation or clinical where you are tired and ready for the day to be over, but this is the best time to practice and gain more experience. You will never regret having given that extra time to run through another scenario or learn a new skill.