Ursuline News

Celebrating Our Veterans

In celebration of the veterans in our Ursuline community, students invited their veteran family members to a Veterans Day Breakfast. They heard from guest speaker Lieutenant Maddie Merkel '12. 

A graduate from Creighton University, Class of 2016, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, LT Merkel commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps in 2018.

Her journey into the military is not like many others.

"A lot of people join the military knowing they want to do something "military"- command a ship, fly a helicopter, and really be the war fighter," she said. "What I wanted to do was support the war fighter through nursing, as that was my calling after all."

Since joining the Navy, she has not only been able to serve those great men and women in service as their peer and as their nurse, but it has also has brought her the ability to serve her country.

"I'm not just a nurse, but a teacher, a coach, a mentor, and an officer," she said. "These different ways of serving deepen my concern for those around me and those that I care for. It has pushed me to continue, turning this concern into meaningful action."

The greatest act of Serviam she has experienced during her career thus far, was deploying on the USNS Comfort to New York City at the beginning of the pandemic.

While there, LT Merkel treated a total of 186 patients aboard the ship with 109 of the patients being critically ill and assisted in the training and development of two ER nurses in the critical care area to obtain the Navy’s Critical Care Subspecialty Code.

She attributes her parents and Ursuline Academy to making her into the woman she is today.

"Everything I am, they helped me to be," she said. 

Listen to her full presentation.

To all veterans: thank you for your time, bravery, and sacrifice for this country.

About Maddie Merkel '12

LT Madeleine E. Merkel graduated from Creighton University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps in 2018. Prior to her commissioning, she worked in Creighton University Medical Center’s Level One Trauma Intensive Care Unit. While there, LT Merkel worked with an array of patients including, but not limited to, those victims to gunshots, stab wounds, motor vehicle accidents and their respective complications. She has also served as charge and resource nurse in the civilian sector – managing a 25-bed unit and responding to both the trauma and code pagers and has worked as the sole nurse for the transport of critically ill trauma patients. In addition to her contributions in the workplace, LT Merkel precepted both nursing students and new graduates to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit and tutored nursing students preparing for their National Council Licensure Examination.

LT Merkel’s military education includes Officer Development School, Basic Medical Division Officer Course, and Division Officer Leadership Course and she is currently serving at her second command at Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida. LT Merkel’s previous assignments include Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. While at WRNMMC, she was the first and only Ensign to serve as both Charge and Resource Nurse has completing over 1,500 hours in both roles and continued to teach as a preceptor to both nursing students and nurses who are new to the critical care area. LT Merkel was also hand-selected to teach the Air Force Critical Care Orientation Course – a five week period of instruction for enlisted personnel entering the critical care environment across all services and military installations. In March 2019, she was the only Lieutenant Junior Grade selected to serve as an instructor for the Surgeon General’s trauma training initiative – Hospital Corpsmen Trauma Training (HMTT) – Great Lakes and was awarded a Flag Letter of Commendation from Rear Admiral Davidson for her contribution to the Navy’s warfighting readiness goal.

In March 2020, LT Merkel was nominated by the command to be an instructor for the Army’s Practical Nurse (68C) Course where she strengthened the joint-service education environment teaching 86 students for over 1,000 hours. She was deployed on the USNS Comfort in April 2020 to New York City in support of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there, LT Merkel treated a total of 186 patients aboard the ship with 109 of the patients being critically ill and assisted in the training and development of two ER nurses in the critical care area to obtain the Navy’s Critical Care Subspecialty Code.

LT Merkel was the recipient of the WRNMMC December 2019 Change Maker Award and A Culture of Excellence (ACE) Award after cataloging over 300 medical supplies within the MICU effectively increasing productivity, patient safety and fiscal responsibility through the optimization of a $123M workload. She was also nominated for Junior Officer of the Quarter, 1st Quarter 2020 for her contributions to her unit and command. LT Merkel’s decorations include the Armed Forces Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

LT Merkel has maintained her CCRN certification since 2017 and is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (CCRN). She is originally from Dallas, Texas and is the oldest of four children – all of whom are also in the armed services.