BALTIMORE – Oumou Sall ’22 was already prepared to enter into a career of service, determining in high school that she wanted to work as a nurse. During her second year at Notre Dame of Maryland University, she took that service commitment to a new level with the decision to enroll in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program hosted at the neighboring campus of Loyola University Maryland.
After graduating from both programs and passing her NCLEX nursing licensing exam this summer, Sall will soon be heading to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, for three months of medical service training. She was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant for the United States Army at an ROTC graduate ceremony in May.
The ROTC Greyhound Battalion, though hosted by Loyola, is also open to students from Notre Dame, Towson University and Goucher College. Sall first heard of the opportunity from a friend during her sophomore year, and after learning that she qualified for scholarship funding through the ROTC Nurse Program, she made the commitment to join shortly afterwards.
“I was able to build not only my overall leadership skills, but my nursing skills as well,” Sall said. “We had our own brigade nurse, she helped us navigate through nursing school. She would give study tips, she helped us determine our future path as nurses in the Army, and she also helped with our training so we could be physically fit as well as good nurses.”
A typical week within the ROTC program for Sall would include three early-morning physical training sessions and a pair of additional one-hour classes. While those hours added to an already demanding schedule created by her NDMU nursing curriculum, Sall’s ROTC officers always gave her flexibility to ensure that she could prioritize her nursing responsibilities when needed. She also felt that the life skills she obtained from the program more than made up for the extra time commitments.
“I’ve learned so much about myself over these last three years,” Sall said. “ROTC helps you improve in every aspect of your life, both physically and mentally. Looking at our graduating class, it’s crazy and great to see the amount that we’ve grown as leaders and individuals since we started.”
In addition to the extra support for her nursing studies during the school year, the ROTC also provided Sall with a three-week paid nursing development trip last summer. Through the Nurse Summer Training Program, she was assigned to Winn Army Community Hospital outside of Savannah, Georgia, where she was able to gain experience working in the OR, ER and labor and delivery areas.
“That experience definitely made me feel more comfortable as a student nurse heading into my senior year,” Sall said. “It was nice to be in a different environment outside of Maryland, and it was helpful to work in so many different specialties. It helped me realize that I wanted to specialize in emergency room nursing.”
A Baltimore native, Sall was first drawn to nursing after attending the city’s Medical Education Resources Initiative for Teens (MERIT) Health Leadership Academy in high school and learning about the need for an increase in health professionals. After passing her boards this summer, she can now look towards an extended period of time serving her country.
“After I complete my training in Texas, I’ll work in a hospital at my assigned duty station,” Sall said. “I have an initial four-year commitment, but I can always stay on past that if I enjoy the experience.”
Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.