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    Finding balance as a U.S. Air Force nurse, wife and mother of six

    Finding balance as a U.S. Air Force nurse, wife and mother of six

    Photo By Spc. Duke Edwards | OKLAHOMA CITY– Air Force 1st Lt. Kristin Bland, a critical care nurse assigned to...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Duke Edwards 

    Defense Department Support to FEMA COVID-19       

    OKLAHOMA CITY - When she was young, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kristin Bland dreamed of helping others. Now a critical care nurse assigned to the 316th Healthcare Operations Squadron, her dreams are coming true.

    Bland is currently part of a group of Air Force medical providers deployed to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, in support of the whole-of-government COVID response operation aimed at helping communities in need. As a critical care nurse, Bland provides vital assistance to the medical team at INTEGRIS within the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit.

    “I’m glad to be here,” said Bland “It’s a pleasure and an honor for me to be able to help out my own nation. The greatest satisfaction I get out of my job is when I can go home knowing that I made a difference.”

    Bland joined the Air Force in 2021, but her journey to serve began years ago. As a child, she spent time nursing small animals back to health on her grandparent’s farm. Her desire to help those in need continued as she grew older. She soon realized the best path for this would be becoming a nurse in the military.

    She hoped to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy after high school but was unable to meet the school’s strict grade point average requirements. Bland recalls feeling heartbroken and discouraged after that event.

    Despite Bland’s setback, her father and mother remained supportive and encouraged Bland to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse.

    Following a gap year after graduation, she attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois, in 1997 to pursue a degree in nursing while also enrolling in the Reserve Officers Training Course there.

    It was during this time she met her soon-to-be husband, 1st Lt. Joseph Bland, at a promotion ceremony. They married four months after meeting and moved to Japan to her husband’s new duty station.

    During this time, Bland paused her own educational pursuits and shifted her focus to caring for her growing family after they welcomed their first child. After three years in the country, the family got orders moving them back to the States.

    Over the following years, Bland moved to numerous duty stations with her husband. When the family finally settled in Colorado in 2015, she decided it was time for her to focus on her own goals and began pursuing a nursing degree at Front Range Community College Colorado, almost two decades after she paused her schooling. She earned her Associate Degree in Nursing in 2018. A year later, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Northern Colorado.

    Bland spent the next two years working as a civilian nurse, but her desire to serve in the Air Force remained all these years later.

    “I want to be a good example for them,” said Bland about her children. “I want them to know that hard work can pay off and your dreams can change as your progress through life.”

    Bland was accepted to serve as a nurse in the Air Force in 2020 and graduated from Officer Training School in 2021. When asked what kept her motivated as she completed her education and commissioned into the Air Force, Bland said it was her kids and family.

    “If you don’t reach your first goal, be flexible,” said Bland. “Never give up. Just work hard.”

    She also credits her faith in God and the continued support from family and friends.

    When reflecting on her journey and the challenges she overcame to actualize her dream of becoming a nurse in the Air Force, Bland is overwhelmed with emotion.

    “It makes me want to cry,” she said. “It has been hard, but things are looking up now.”

    Bland said the biggest challenge on the path to becoming a nurse in the Air Force was finding balance in being a mother of six, a wife, and a full-time student. She continues to work to find that balance while in Oklahoma City, as she works side-by-side with civilian medical staff to care for patients during her deployment.

    INTEGRIS leadership requested assistance through the state to help their medical staff who was beleaguered by the ongoing COVID pandemic. This request eventually made it to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and then to the Department of Defense who sent a team of medical providers to support INTEGRIS.

    “It is a rare privilege to be active duty and to be able to assist our own citizens,” said Bland. “Disaster relief is generally for the Reserves to help with, so we realize how unique this is for us and we are embracing it one hundred percent.”

    “We are the reinforcements brought in to answer their cry,” Bland continued. “This gives the hospital a little breathing room in order to prepare for their next steps.”

    Bland said the reception from the hospital staff has been nothing less than awesome.

    “The hospital staff has been amazing,” said Bland. “They are very grateful for any help we can give them.”

    Although she will spend approximately a month away from home, Bland is proud of the example she is setting for her children.

    “My family misses me, but are very supportive and proud of me,” said Bland. “What better reason to share your wife or mother than to help out your neighbors?”

    She said her support in Oklahoma not only helps the people there, but also helps her children understand the importance of serving others.

    “We always try to instill kindness and generosity of spirit to our children,” said Bland. “This mission is a true example of those values and walking the talk.”



    Date Taken: 03.04.2022
    Date Posted: 03.08.2022 19:09
    Story ID: 415778
    Location: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US 

    Web Views: 680
    Downloads: 0