Navy flight nurse shares experiences treating wounded leaving the battlefield

Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Albero served as a Navy flight nurse with the First Medical Battalion in support of the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.
Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Albero served as a Navy flight nurse with the First Medical Battalion in support of the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.

Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Albero, a reservist in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, will present “Saving Lives Under Fire” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Johnson Dining Room in Sweet Briar College’s Prothro Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Albero, who was commissioned as a Navy ensign after graduating from the University of Virginia in 2006, deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010. She served as a Navy flight nurse with the First Medical Battalion in support of the U.S. Marines during Operation Enduring Freedom.

After three months at the British Trauma Hospital at Camp Bastion, Albero was sent to a forward operating base near Musa Q’ala as an en route critical care nurse attached to the shock trauma platoon. She was the ICU nurse on a surgical team that included four surgeons, two anesthesiologists, one ER nurse and one medical-surgical nurse.

KAlbero2-inlineAlbero and the ER nurse split the duty of flying wounded Marines, coalition soldiers, Afghan soldiers, insurgent fighters and Afghan civilians from the point of injury to Camp Bastion. At the camp hospital, the wounded received life- and limb-saving surgery before transport to Germany and, eventually, home to the U.S.

“I returned to work as an ICU nurse in the naval hospital in San Diego in May 2011 a changed person,” Albero says. “It was a professionally rewarding and emotionally exhausting experience. It was at once thrilling and heartbreaking and among the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.”

Today, Albero is back at UVa pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus as a family nurse practitioner. Rosie Lewis, Sweet Briar’s health and wellness director, served as her clinical preceptor this semester.

Albero’s active duty service began at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where she cared for U.S. servicemen wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. She deployed aboard the USS Boxer to Central America to provide humanitarian and civic assistance during Operation Continuing Promise in 2008. In 2009, she moved to San Diego, where she worked as a critical care nurse in a multiservice ICU prior to her Afghanistan deployment.

She ended her active duty service as the manager of the Nurse Residency Program at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., and as the nurse manager of a Pediatric Primary Care Medical Home on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach.

This is a Visible Vixen event. For more information, please contact Lewis at rtlewis@sbc.edu or (434) 381-6140.