Major: Nursing with a Minor in Public Health
Military Service: Nursing student Kees Slot spent six years as an Army medic, including a deployment to Iraq in 2005, prior to attending Mason. During his time there, he assisted at a medical aid station, which was responsible for caring for soldiers and Marines who were wounded in action.
Deployment Challenges: One day, five Marines came into the aid station after being hit by a roadside bomb. One had died on scene, one was near death, and the other three were severely injured. Slot and his medical team immediately began working on one of the most critically wounded from the group, but to no avail. “He died on the table in front of me,” Slot says.
Life-Changing Moment: Later, another casualty was brought into the aid station: a detainee with explosive residue on his hands found running from the scene of the explosion earlier that day. After surgery for a gunshot wound, the patient was assigned to Slot’s unit for the evening. “I completely understood who I was standing over,” he says. “The person in front of me was responsible for the deaths of the people that I saw die that day.”
When the detainee awoke, he asked for water, but because he would likely need more surgery, the doctor’s orders stated he was not allowed to have anything by mouth. Slot did what he could: “I got a paper towel and wrung out some water on his lips.”
Next Step—Nursing:The impact on Slot of caring for the man was profound. “I now understand that I shared a common sense of humanity with that person. We connected on a level that was beyond justice, culture, or ideals,” he says. “I could not deny him even a few drops of water… [it] made me want to become a nurse.” When he graduates in May 2013, Slot hopes to become a nurse in a veteran’s hospital.
Choosing Mason: When Slot and his wife moved to Virginia, he looked for nursing schools in the area. “I picked Mason because it was a huge research university with unlimited opportunity and choices for how I want to progress academically. It was the only school I wanted to go to.”
College Vets for Hire: As a student, Slot continues to make a difference in the lives of veterans. He is a member of Mason’s Veteran’s Society and serves as the treasurer of the College Vets for Hire program, a veteran employment network of Mason alumni. “We hope that keeping these students in touch with each other will provide more chances in the job market,” Slot says.