Thursday, May 15, 2014

20th MDG recognizes nurses, technicians

by Senior Airman Laura L. Valentine
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/15/2014 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C.  -- The 20th Medical Group reached out to show appreciation for its nurses and medical technicians May 6-12 in observance of Nurse and Medical Technician Week. This year's theme is "Transforming Health Care through Nursing Leadership."

"The 20th MDG delivers care through the model of a Patient Centered Medical Home," said Col. Curt Prichard, 20th MDG commander. "Our nurses and technicians are the foundation of the medical home and provide our patients with unmatched, compassionate care on a daily basis. Nurses and technicians are more than mission enablers; they are the team leaders for personalized patient engagement. It's a privilege to honor them in any way that we can."

Throughout the 20th MDG there are approximately 30 nurses and 70 technicians who provide care for the nearly 2,030 medical patient visits each week.

"Our mission as nurses and technicians is to support providers," said Senior Airman Phillip Salmans, 20th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician. "We ensure readiness for all military personnel on base, including 20th Fighter Wing, Ninth Air Force, and U.S. Air Forces Central Command Airmen, and U.S. Army Central soldiers."

Because technicians and nurses interface so often with patients, they are able to know their patients on a very personal level and focus on delivering the greatest level of care possible.

"Most rewarding about our job is seeing that patients are taken care of," said Tech. Sgt. Kathy Cooper, 20th MDOS Pediatric Clinic NCO in charge, "and seeing a smile on their face. It's a nice feeling to know you've helped someone."

For Cooper, the decision to join the medical career came from advice from her family. And it is advice that still rings true today, "the medical profession will never go away, it's always needed wherever you go," she said.

Nurses and medical technicians across the Air Force - Active Duty, Reserve, guardsmen, civilians and contractors - support servicemen and women across the globe and have been a part of the impressive strides in the field of nursing, especially in the deployed environment.

During the week, nurses and technicians were recognized with small tokens of appreciation. May 9, the 20th MDG hosted Col. Julie Stola, U.S. Air Forces Central Command deputy surgeon general and a Nurse Corps officer, for a group mentorship session where Stola shared her 24-years of Air Force medical experience with approximately 30 professionals.

"Once you are in a nursing or healthcare profession, you'll always be in it," she said. "The military gives us the opportunity to make, and participate in, medical history."

Stola ended with emphasizing that the medical professionals should strive for furthering educational experiences and "remembering your passion" for serving others.

National Nurses Week was first celebrated in 1954. It recognized the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing with her work in the Crimean War. Nurses week is an annual commemorative celebration that started in 1991.

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