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Mac Colclough: Combat medic and paratrooper turned R.N.

Photo of Mac Colclough, RN in military uniform

Mac Colclough joined the U.S. Army in 2010 as a combat medic. “I spoke with my father who was also in the U.S. Army, and he said I always had an eye for helping people and had a good outlook regarding medicine,” Mac said. Mac was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, 2nd Brigade Combat teams 407th Brigade Support Battalion in Fort Bragg, N.C. “During my service with the 82nd Airborne Division, I was a U.S. army medic and paratrooper, where I was deployed to Iraq. My unit was deployed to the Al-Anbar province of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and later Operation New Dawn.” When Mac returned to Iraq in 2011, he finished the rest of his four-year service contract at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, working with civilians and service members at Womack Army Medical Center. “This opportunity to provide care in a hospital setting was the primary reason for my interest and pursuit in nursing.”

“As a working veteran, I feel that this allows me to engage with a variety of patients. For example, there have been instances where a patient will ask me about my pin on my nursing badge, which is an 82nd Airborne logo. This simple question often leads to patients and myself being able engage and make a connection on a variety of topics from their own experiences within the military, to other careers, such as public service, EMS, firefighters, police officers, and government work,” Mac said.

Mac is currently a registered nurse with the Cardiothoracic Surgery Progressive Care Unit. After his service, he attended VCU’s School of Nursing, which led him to want to work for VCU Health System. “VCU Health has always been viewed as one of the best medical centers in the country and one of the top three academic medical centers in Virginia.”

Mac often sees the same patients throughout the year and has developed a relationship with them. “By far the biggest enjoyment of my work is seeing patients who return to say thank you or just a hello after receiving a heart transplant or a heart in addition to other organ transplants. The rewarding part of this is seeing how well these patients are doing and how thankful they are to have a second chance at life by getting a new heart, or other organ."