Konnichiwa! My name is Sydney Slusser. I am a Registered Nurse (RN) currently living with my husband and two cats, Emma and Quincy, in Iwakuni, Japan. I was born in South Carolina, raised in Virginia, and went to Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, where I lived my dream of playing NCAA softball and receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You could say my senior year of college was not a typical one, but it was one of the most exciting and rewarding years of my life. I got married, graduated, passed my nursing boards, and moved to Japan!
Currently, I am a volunteer RN at the Branch Health Clinic on base. Moving here shortly after graduating prevented me from having the experience required to be qualified for any of the few nursing positions available. Luckily, I began the process of becoming a Red Cross volunteer soon after arriving. I was quickly welcomed by the Red Cross staff. They were so incredibly helpful to me during the process of getting into the clinic. I was welcomed by the amazing staff and was quickly put to work in the Family Practice answering telephone consults, giving injections, medication refills, and many other tasks. After a few months, I was able to join the Acute Care Center (urgent care) where I give more hands-on patient care. For now, this is as close as I can get to my emergency room nurse passion.
I’ve always enjoyed helping people while also challenging myself to continue to learn in a quick-paced environment. I can’t remember the exact moment I wanted to be a nurse, but it was sometime in early high school that I set that goal for myself. I had (and still have) a passion for the Emergency Room and Labor and Delivery. Although I feel a part of the medical team now, I still have hope I can one day become an employed nurse at the clinic.
My husband and I are just over one and a half years into our time here and I can say it was the best thing that could’ve happened for us. I’ve been able to gain so much nursing experience while being able to become “disaster ready” with the Red Cross. I’ve volunteered with the Red Cross for over 1,200 hours in the past 10 months. By being in Japan, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world (literally), teach English to Japanese adults, coach the high school softball team, and travel to six countries.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity the Red Cross has given to me and plan to stay involved at our next duty station. I plan to dive further into Disaster Relief training so I can be a helping hand during national disasters. My advice to any military spouse that may be in a similar situation with their career is to stay positive, connect with your local Red Cross and look for all available resources in your area. Even though joining the Red Cross was never on my “to-do list,” I couldn’t be more fortunate to be a part of such a great team here in Iwakuni, Japan.