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HCMC ER Nurse Trading Scrubs For Air Force Uniform

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- She served our country in the Air Force from 2001 to 2005 before leaving the military to earn a nursing degree. Now, the emergency room nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center is once again feeling the patriotic pull.

Melissa Conner said she will use her emergency room skills to serve the medical needs of air men and women by re-enlisting in the Air Force.

Out of scrubs and into uniform, registered nurse Connor took the patriotic oath of service. Her commissioning ceremony took place during a lull in the action where Conner says, her time at the level one trauma center prepared her well.

"It gave me a wider skill set and a sense of maintaining calmness in any given situation," she said.

Fellow HCMC emergency room nurses Lt. Kristi Roers and Maj. Michelle Lambert have been there. Both were Air Force nurses who treated injured air men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They'll miss Conner's emergency room presence, but say the newly commissioned Second Lieutenant is up to the challenge.

"We do some great things in this room," said Col. Roers.

Maj. Lambert agreed and adds, "Amazing things happen in this room."

Lt. Conner's training in the level one trauma center prepared her well for the rigors of military medicine. The biggest difference will be the stringent protocols of life in uniform.

"When you get in here (emergency room) you need to know what you're doing, it's pretty quick," Col. Roers said.

Conner agreed and said she will miss the camaraderie of her hospital family.

"It's amazing -- the hospital support and how everybody comes together to make things happen. That's something I'm really going to miss," she said.

But for now, there is still time for cake and congratulations with HCMC staff.

"I've never regretted a minute of it and it will be a great adventure for Melissa, she'll do very well," said Col. Roers.

Second Lt. Conner hopes to be deployed overseas following her initial stint at Langley AFB in Virginia, beginning in January 2014.

Conner's military service isn't unique to Hennepin County Medical Center staff. Forty-one HCMC employees have taken time away from the hospital in 2013 to serve in various branches of the nation's military.

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