VA’s Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) program gives Veterans like Mackenzie Beeman the chance to put their military medical training to use.
After serving for five years as a healthcare specialist in the U.S. Army, and obtaining an associate’s degree in health sciences, Beeman wasn’t sure she’d be able to find a civilian role that used her skills.
“I thought there was no way I’d be able to get a job in health care where I could help others and financially contribute to my family without having to acquire more certificates or licenses,” she said.
What is the Intermediate Care Technician Program?
The ICT program is specifically designed for Veterans with military medical training, allowing them to take on health care support roles without any additional licensure or training.
The ICT program is designed to bring your expertise to VA medical centers. Intermediate care technicians take vital signs, draw blood samples, place IVs and care for wounds, as well as prep patients for evaluation, confirm that medical tests are completed, coordinate the patient to different venues and complete the discharge process.
Beeman now works as an intermediate care technician in the emergency department in the VA Fayetteville Costal Healthcare System. She also assists with the SkillBridge ICT internship program, which helps military personnel transitioning into civilian life gain work experience through training, apprenticeships and internships.
What initially inspired you to take on a medic role during your service?
I enlisted in 2016 as a 68W, or healthcare specialist in the U.S. Army. I knew I wasn’t ready to pursue higher education, but I knew I wanted to help people. I have always had a passion for helping others, and the Army allowed me to do that for the people I served alongside.
What drew you to the Intermediate Care Technician program?
With some job searching on USAJobs, I found the ICT position that was almost an exact description of everything I did and everything I was trained to do in the Army.
How did you become involved with the SkillBridge program?
Within the first couple of weeks working at VA, I heard about the ICT SkillBridge and I just thought it was incredible. I asked if there was any way I could participate in it.
They started to include me in more SkillBridge meetings, and once I had a better idea of how it could benefit transitioning medics, I offered to make connections with the Medical Simulation and Training Center (MSTC) at Fort Bragg so we could initiate a contract to work together.
I just see something that has so much potential and want to help as much as possible.
What does doing this work at VA mean to you?
Working at VA, for me, is incredibly rewarding, because I help people all day long, every day, in an emergency department setting. I get to interact with Veterans from all different walks of life who served in wars all the way back to WWII. Since I am a Veteran as well, there is an automatic trust as soon as they come in, and they know they will be taken care of to the best of our abilities.
I love that this is a rapidly expanding position. Since my husband is still active duty, I know I’ll be able to continue working when we move again. The ICT position is the first time I’ve seen a great opportunity for medics transitioning out of the military. It also acts as a stepping stone, with many different scholarships offered.
Where do you think this opportunity will lead you?
I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up; I am currently using the G.I. Bill to get my bachelor’s degree in health care administration. I want to be able to help patients and staff in a higher role here at VA. But who knows, maybe I will pursue nursing, physician assistant school, or medical school, since it would all be funded by the VA scholarships.
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