North Carolina man trades in Marine uniform for nursing scrubs

He went from a male dominated field to one dominated by women, but they both have one thing in common: putting others first.

Video Transcript

NATALIE WILSON: It's not the same as his days overseas, but Mitchell Faulk says the intensity is a close second.

MITCHELL FAULK: I wouldn't think I could compare my platoon in Iraq to the group of ladies I work with here, but you certainly can. They get the job done.

NATALIE WILSON: The Marine has a new uniform these days.

MITCHELL FAULK: Yeah, my wife was a nurse before I was. I was getting out. We were blessed enough to have the GI Bill, so I figured why not get a degree? She pushed me towards nursing school. I'm a go-with-it guy, so that's what I fell into. Had no idea how much I would love it.

NATALIE WILSON: Mitchell is serving on the front lines of the pandemic as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Cone Health Wesley Long Hospital.

MITCHELL FAULK: My senior year at UNCG, did a couple hundred hours here on this very unit here at the Wesley ICU, and I just kind of knew from there that it was something special.

NATALIE WILSON: Interestingly enough, this isn't what he did in the Marine Corps.

MITCHELL FAULK: I was a radio man.

NATALIE WILSON: He was in communications. His specialty was radio repair. Mitchell spent the final part of his military career at a medical battalion at Camp Pendleton in California.

MITCHELL FAULK: And that's where I finished up, and that was my first taste of the medical field.

NATALIE WILSON: Being a Marine taught him skills that have transferred seamlessly into the ICU, including teamwork and the ability to adjust from plan A to plan B, both critical in the fight against COVID.

MITCHELL FAULK: A lot of things are completely different than the way we treated just standard respiratory distress, you know, in the early spring when this thing was first kicking up. But I was kind of really proud-- I still am-- of how quick we were able to adjust fire, kind of recalibrate, coming at it from a different angle.

NATALIE WILSON: Often seeing people during the worst time of their lives, Mitchell's priority is being a compassionate caregiver.

MITCHELL FAULK: You run through all the emotions up here. I've cried at work. I'm not afraid to say it. It gets-- it gets stressful, and you lose people that you build a relationship with.

NATALIE WILSON: But he remains encouraged by the many patients who do return to their lives.

MITCHELL FAULK: You know, when you have a patient now where it looks like they're not going to make it, you remember there's miracles out there. Things do turn around.

NATALIE WILSON: In Greensboro, Natalie Wilson, FOX8 News.