Katherine Berry standing in front of a building
Katherine Berry has worked in in telemetry, medical-surgical, pediatric and COVID-19 isolation units. (Courtesy Katherine Berry)

Class of 2022: Army officer finishes her nursing degree abroad

Katherine Berry, a medical-surgical nurse and master’s degree student, embraces leadership roles and new challenges.

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Life is anything but dull for newly married Army officer Katherine Berry, who is getting her master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in nursing leadership and organizational science this month from the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Berry enrolled in the master’s program because she knew it would strengthen her skills and boost her career.

“As an Army officer, I have been placed in several leadership roles and anticipate stepping into management roles for the majority of my remaining military career. I wanted to set up my career for success by improving both my management and leadership abilities through a challenging graduate program,” said Berry, who graduated with a bachelor’s in nursing from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Berry became interested in nursing because it offered both flexibility and job stability.

“Now what I love most about nursing is the ability to constantly learn and see the direct impact you can make in people’s lives,” she said.

Currently stationed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, Berry, 26, is familiar with military life.

“I am a military brat, and we moved over a dozen times in my childhood,” she said. “I have lived all over the continental U.S., but I would mostly consider myself to be from the New Jersey/Philadelphia area.”

An ROTC cadet at Temple, Berry was commissioned as an officer in 2018. She is currently a first lieutenant but will be promoted to captain in October.

Berry was living in Bethesda, Maryland, when she decided to get a master’s degree through VCU’s Nursing Administration and Leadership program in 2019. She continued working on her degree after being assigned to Germany in October 2021.

“I chose it because of its ranking, course list and ability to study on a part-time schedule,” she said.

Berry is a medical-surgical nurse for the Army, which gives her the flexibility to work in several hospital settings.

“I have worked in telemetry, medical-surgical, pediatric and COVID-19 isolation units,” she said. “I love that I am not tied down to one specialty.”

In addition to her duties in the military and her course work, Berry got married in March.

“My husband and I had a destination wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and got to see our close friends and family for the first time in months. It was the best week of our lives,” she said. “My husband works in the insurance/health benefits industry, so he sees a very different side of health care. He has been fortunate enough to be able to work remotely from Germany.”

Berry is in the process of finishing her master’s degree in Germany.

“It has been a huge transition, but is overall going well,” she said of completing her degree while on active duty. “My new job has a lot of demands, but I have been able to effectively manage my time in order to meet both my work and school commitments. I have also been able to take a few trips since living in Europe including to Barcelona and the south of France.”

Her goal is to step into a nurse manager position for the Army in the next year or two.

“I am not sure how long I will stay in the Army, but I know that between this program [at VCU] and my experience, I will have the skills to succeed anywhere I go,” she said.