Two photos of "Freddy" Fredericksen, one in Marine uniform and one in nurse scrubs.

Marine Corps reservist finds nursing call – Reuters

Many doctors and nurses at Sanford Health have known from a young age that they want to pursue a career in medicine. For some, however, that call comes a little later.

From machinery to medicine

Abdulwahab “Freddy” Frederickson had no intention of becoming a medic when he volunteered for the United States Armed Forces.

“I thought I was going to be a mechanical engineer,” Frederickson said. “That’s why I went to the Marine Corps. I wanted to design vehicles or at least work with engines, a little fat, you know, that’s what I wanted to do.

As a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, Frederickson was able to continue his education after high school, while practicing his trade.

“I was a heavy equipment engineer (on the reserve), but I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be stuck doing tractor stuff in the area,” Frederickson said with a laugh.

“We could also try to take a few courses with different military operations and, you know, expand our knowledge. One of them was combat medicine. Once I took this course, I felt like it was a fresh start. I was interested in discussions, I was interested in the topic, almost like I was interested in engineering at first, but with a whole new drive, a whole new passion that I never really thought I would have .

He soon changed his major to nursing and eventually began working at Sanford as a nursing assistant while serving as a reservist.

“Sanford made me feel like I didn’t have to worry about getting time off or meeting my needs between nursing school and my military career,” Frederickson said.

Apply everything he learned

Today, Frederickson is a leader in clinical oncology care at the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, North Dakota, helping cancer patients through their chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant treatments. . He says his military background serves him well in his day-to-day role.

“Nursing has all of these aspects. You have some adrenaline, you know how to solve problems, you have to interact with other people and build relationships,” Frederickson said. “Nursing has kind of brought it all together in one big picture. I get new things every day. I feel like I’m challenging myself. I feel like I’m improving every day. And that’s not something I could say for all the jobs I’ve had.

He also says he bonds quickly with veteran patients when they find out he also served.

“There is a connection that just happens. It definitely creates a connection,” Frederickson said. “Mutual respect is something that I think is stronger, or maybe it happens faster, I guess. They trust you a little more because they know you’re one of them in a way.

It helps a bit during difficult chemotherapy treatments.

“Some days are tough, you know? It’s tough treatment and unfortunately not everyone gets to where they want to be,” Frederickson said. courage, to bring a little smile to their day.”

Frederickson plans to continue her education and work to eventually become a nurse practitioner. Nearly a decade after enlisting and working heavy machinery, Freddy Frederickson transitioned into medicine completely.

“All those tests you take in high school, trying to predict what you’d like based on your skills, I mean, medicine and nursing was never close to the top 50,” Frederickson said. “It was a pleasant surprise. And every day I come to work, I’m so grateful that I made the decision to change.

The same goes for his patients and everyone who works alongside him at Sanford Health.

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Posted in Fargo, Nursing & Nursing Support, Sanford Stories, Veterans Affairs

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