Ensign Allison O’Neill, NC, USN, ’17 BSN was commissioned into the US Navy Nurse Corps and graduated from Villanova University in May. She studied for her registered nurse licensure exam, passed, and within two days, got on a plane bound for Japan. Next stop? U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa.
“Coming to Okinawa directly after graduating from nursing school was a shock…I was both recovering from the haze of studying and jumping into a whole new life all at once,” explains Allison, noting that being surrounded by Americans while on duty and while living on base eased the transition for her. Time differences, culture, and nursing shifts were adjustments at first but soon things started to flow more easily. Now, Okinawa is feeling like home.
Just before Allison departed the US, she connected via email with LCDR Elyse Braxton, NC, USN, ’06 BSN who was assigned to Okinawa for the second time. “She has served as a support and mentor to me since arriving. We learned early on we share a mutual interest in the public and global health side of navy nursing. I’m grateful to know another Villanova grad on this side of the world— someone who has had way more time and experiences in the Navy Nurse Corps than myself-- sharing her wisdom and experiences and all the opportunities I might not otherwise know,” notes Allison.