Guard Celebrates National Nurses Week

Story by Sgt. Nasir Stoner, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Nurses have been a major part of responding to COVID-19 across the country over the past few months as well as being a key piece of the Kentucky National Guard’s efforts in the commonwealth. These frontline workers deserve much praise and recognition.

National Nurses Week is every year from May 6-12 and the Guard recognizes the nurses of the 1163rd Medical Company and their efforts. They have been deployed to support COVID-19 efforts in Louisville, Ky. at the Alternate Care Facility stood up in response to the pandemic.

The 1163rd has a group of nurses who take pride in their jobs working in the medical field in both the Guard and in their civilian occupations including emergency rooms, intensive care units and nursing homes. This diverse group has various roles and real world experience to bring to the unit.

“I enjoy being a nurse in my civilian job and being a medic in the National Guard,” said Sgt. Kirsten Richardson, medic and ICU nurse. “I work at the VA (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) as a nurse and it is rewarding getting to serve fellow veterans. In the unit I’m able to bring skills I’ve learned at work to help train younger Soldiers.”

As of now, the nurses have not been called upon to treat any COVID-19 patients during the Alternate Care Facility mission but are still busy learning and sharing knowledge. The unit has conducted medical training and learning how to approach a pandemic response if needed in the future.


Sgt. Kirsten Richardson poses for a photo (Courtesy photo)

“Even though we didn’t treat any COVID-19 patients, our unit has learned a lot,” said 2nd Lt. Cynthia Ulshafer, bedside nurse and ICU nurse. “If the National Guard is needed in the future for a pandemic response we have a blueprint for how to do it now even more effectively than we did this time.”

For the nurses of the 1163rd, this has been a chance for them to work jointly alongside their Air National Guard counterparts throughout this mission.

“It has been awesome working with the Kentucky Air Guard during this mission,” said Spc. Paige Sipe, medic and ER nurse. “Typically we just work with the Army National Guard so it has been nice meeting new people and learning new skills from our sister branch.”

The nurses say that they have gained great experience during this mission and are going to be able to use the things they’ve learned through the military in their civilian capacity as well.

“My time and service with the Guard has influenced my position as a nurse on the civilian side by allowing me to carry over leadership experience, discipline and structure into the workload of a very busy Intensive Care Unit,” Ulshafer said. “All of these are the foundation for a successful position as an ICU Nurse, and I have the Guard to thank for that.”

Nurses working at the Alternate Care Facility in Louisville, Ky. (Courtesy photo)

Their hard work and dedication to keeping fellow Kentuckians safe is what makes them a modern day super hero and we want to lift them up and show them our appreciation this week and every day of the year. 

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