Operating Room Nurse
Class of 1997
By Jaeline Lee
Sherry Veriato is an Air Force nurse who was stationed in Afghanistan in 2007. She joined the Air Force in December 2003 and is currently stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California. Her job as an operating room nurse is to make sure that the patient having surgery is safe and everyone in the room is doing their job. Also, she is a circular, the patient’s spokesperson, even while they’re sleeping.
From May to August 2007, Sherry was part of the Task Force Medical operating team at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The team was nicknamed the “Smooth Operators,” and consisted of ten surgeons, six anesthesiologists, seven nurses and 15 medical technicians. They performed more than 1,000 surgical procedures, including working with 600 trauma patients. One memorable case involved caring for a severely burned American soldier who required 13 procedures before he could be successfully stabilized and transferred back to a definitive care facility at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. They also cared for Afghani civilians. The team worked long and tedious hours around the clock. She said “It’s an amazing feeling to know and see that you’re the reason these people are able to go home to their families and loved ones alive.”
Sherry earned her nursing degree from UH Hilo, but started college at UH Manoa. Usually, when joining the military, you need to attend basic training. However, because she was already a licensed RN with a bachelor’s degree, she enlisted as an officer and went through a month of easy training. Becoming an operating room nurse requires three months of special training, which was paid for by the Air Force. She has had to conform to a military lifestyle which includes being assigned to different hospitals and positions, but she also enjoys the benefits such as traveling, free training, and money for school.
Some of her hobbies are working out at the gym, running, and cooking. Because getting into a nursing school is pretty competitive, she recommends that future nurses get a great GPA and take all prerequisites before applying. Sherry graduated from Waiakea High School in 1997. The main thing she remembers is that it was a very big school with a large student enrollment.