By John Robert Morton, Student and Alumni Affairs Liaison, and Hailee Wilson, AMU Graduate
Our healthcare system is vital for maintaining the health of U.S. citizens, especially our servicemembers and their families. Naval hospital corpsman Hailee Wilson is currently in the front lines of healthcare, caring for military patients.
Hailee’s story is one of perseverance and drive. She’s a hero, and we’re proud to have her as an American Military University (AMU) alumna.
Growing Up Military
Hailee Wilson comes from a military family. Both of her parents retired from the Navy, and she had an Air Force grandfather and a Marine Corps uncle.
Growing up, Hailee found it exciting to travel to new places. Before the age of five, Hailee lived in South Dakota, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.
From her parents, Hailee inherited a strong work ethic. She graduated high school early due to her hard work and drive.
Developing an Interest in Healthcare
Since Hailee was a child, she was interested in helping people, and medicine always fascinated her. Hailee wasn’t the usual child who feared the doctor. Instead, she was captivated by otoscopes, protective gloves and even tongue depressors – anything that allowed her to “practice” medicine as a 7-year-old.
Hailee’s mother also had a huge impact on her decision to enter healthcare. Hailee says, “She used to work in the ER when I was a kid, and that might be where my love of medicine started. She would come home and tell me these enthralling hospital stories, and I would be engrossed by every word.”
After graduation from high school, Hailee was lost for a future path. Her dad recommended that she explore becoming a hospital corpsman in the Navy, given her interest in healthcare and her knowledge of military life.
To become a hospital corpsman, Hailee had to go to “A” school for four months to take an accelerated training course. As a hospital corpsman, Hailee can do just about as much as a civilian nurse but with a few limitations. Working as a corpsman also exposed her to different healthcare pathways, and she is still figuring out what she wants to do in the long run.
Hailee says, “Just in the last year, I have thought about being a travel nurse, an X-ray technician and an ultrasound technician. That’s how versatile my job is!”
Hailee’s current responsibilities include working with little kids in a pediatrics unit. She adds, “It has been so fulfilling to see sick kiddos and nurse them back to health!”
Hailee enjoys practicing healthcare because it gives her a sense of purpose. She says, “Knowing that I can change someone’s outlook on a hospital with empathy is so fulfilling, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
Taking Healthcare Classes
Eventually, Hailee decided that she wanted to continue her education and sought an associate degree in health sciences from the University. She says, “I love to learn and wanted to start classes while I was stationed at a shore command.” Hailee heard about the University through the grapevine at her command and became very curious.
Originally, Hailee was going to attend another college but changed her mind in order to enroll in classes at AMU. Hailee notes, “Not only is AMU very military-friendly, but it was also the most cost-efficient option.”
Hailee had never attempted online classes prior to attending the University, so she was a little nervous at the beginning of her program. But once classes began, she developed momentum and completed all her courses.
Hailee loved her professors at the University. She observes, “They have all been a pleasure to learn from and communicate with. They made my educational experience even better!”
Hailee had a strong sense of pride after completing the requirements for her degree program. No one in her family went to college, so she is a first-generation college student.
Persevering through Setbacks
While taking courses for her associate degree, Hailee had some personal issues arise that interfered with her schooling. However, her professors were happy to work out a schedule for her, so that she could turn in her assignments and stay on time with classes.
Hailee also recommends the University to other servicemembers. She notes, “I have been able to proudly teach many servicemembers how to enroll in classes and complete their degree. AMU allows servicemembers to get an education for when they end up discharged from the service.”
Hailee has not had the easiest life, but her experiences have helped her grow and persevere. She says, “In my junior year of high school, I lost my mom to suicide. It was one of the hardest experiences I have ever gone through. But since then, I have become certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a program built to help talk people down from suicidal thoughts and actions.
“On top of that, I am a part of a Navy program called Caregiver Occupational Stress Control. It focuses on keeping stress levels down and morale levels high, as well as offering a listening ear to struggling sailors who are afraid to talk to anyone else.”
Advice to Future Healthcare Students
For anyone planning to go in the healthcare field, Hailee advises, “Become a learning sponge! Many people you meet in healthcare have been doing this job for over 20 years and have completed every aspect of being a hospital corpsman.
“The key to success is being open to learning. I would not be in my position today if I had not soaked up all the information I could from my superiors.
“No question is a bad question. If someone makes you feel like the question isn’t worthy of an answer, go ask someone else.”
Hailee’s goal in life is to learn everything that she possibly can so that someday she can be the healthcare person that other people go to in order to learn something. She also believes in being flexible and goes by the saying “Semper Gumby,” an unofficial military motto meaning “always flexible.” She observes, “The military can put you in some insane positions in life, and the best thing to do is to soak up the experience!”
About the Author
John Robert Morton is a Student & Alumni Affairs Liaison and has been with the University for 14 years. His bachelor’s degree in European history is from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He also completed master’s degrees in political science and sports management from American Military University. As a liaison, John Robert enjoys helping students and alumni to achieve their personal and professional goals.
About Our Department
The AMU and APU Alumni Affairs Office is dedicated to sustaining lifelong relationships with university alumni by providing engaging opportunities to stay involved and connected. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders to strengthen the alumni experience and to offer a variety of benefits, services, activities, and events throughout the year.