ACU (Australian Catholic University)

ACU Alum

Issue 3, Summer 2012

Sun, surf and scrubs

Sun surf and scrubs Living in Hawaii is both fantasy and reality for ACU nursing graduate Johnathon Molloy. Images: Courtesty Johnathon Molloy.


Johnathon Molloy never dreamed he would be working in a military medical facility in Hawaii. But after moving to the United States 18 years ago, he now calls the islands home. Caitlin Ganter spoke to the nursing graduate about life in paradise.

Living on a world famous tropical island is a common fantasy, and for Johnathon Molloy it is reality.

“I love living and working in Hawaii, I enjoy my job and I appreciate my location … Hawaii is stunning,” he said.

Surfing, kayaking and lazing on the beach are just some of the ways Johnathon spends his down time in sunny Oahu, Hawaii. However despite living in a top holiday destination, when at work he is all business.

Johnathon belongs to the Army Civilian Corps of the United States Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), and works as the Lead Nurse for the Gastroenterology Clinic at the Tripler Army Medical Centre (TAMC).

“We are a clinic that provides state-of-the-art, full-service, consultative and primary gastroenterological medical care to the Pacific Rim's Military Ohana (family), including our facilities in Guam, Japan and the Marshal Islands,” he said.

“In the Civilian Corps I am a federal employee who works alongside the military; however, I’m not subject to military requirements such as boot camp, military uniforms or deployments.”

Located in Hawaii and guarded by military police and soldiers, the TAMC is the only federal tertiary care hospital in the Pacific Basin, supporting 264,000 local active duty and retired military personnel, their families, and veteran beneficiaries.

In addition, the referral population includes 171,000 military personnel, family members, veteran beneficiaries, and the residents of nine US affiliated jurisdictions and forward-deployed forces in more than 40 countries throughout the Pacific.

“Really, working in an army facility is pretty similar to our civilian counterparts, although there are a few notable differences. Our facility is only for the use of military personnel, retirees and their dependents, except we recently opened our doors to civilian traumas from in the community at large.

“We are also a closed base, meaning that special decals on vehicles and badges are required to access the campus which is manned by military police and soldiers. I’m responsible for a team of 17 medical staff, so I do both managerial and practical tasks. I also get to know all the duties of my staff so I can operate in any of their roles when needed, which means I’m constantly learning.”

But it’s not all work, and Johnathon said life in Hawaii definitely allows for some great leisure activities.

“The islands are really laid back compared to the mainland, and we love to make use of the great outdoors here. My husband and I often take our dogs to Kailua beach, which is a 15-minute walk from our house. We love to hike, run marathons, do triathlons, kayak, surf, scuba dive, and generally relax here on Oahu and neighbouring islands.”

Johnathon said he loves living in the US, although he had never planned on sticking around for so long.

“The original reason I came to the US was because job prospects weren’t great in Australia... at that time there were fewer jobs and lots of nurses.

“After graduating from ACU I was accepted into the Ivanhoe Manor Private Rehabilitation Hospital for my Graduate Nurse Program in 1993. I completed my year there, and then a company advertised for nurses to go to the USA, sit the boards and work in America.

“Seemed like a great idea to me, so I flew out in February 1994 for what was going to be for one year, but 18 years later - here I am.”

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