Nurses: Advocating, leading, caring

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michelle Vickers
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
They walk the halls of Hurlburt Field's clinic, accomplishing everything from counseling a diabetic patient on proper nutrition to making the first immunizations a newborn receives as swift as possible.

It's all in a day's work for the nurses and medical technicians of the 1st Special Operations Medical Group.

While they may not always have time to be recognized for their work, May 6 to 12 marked Nurse and Technician Week at the Hurlburt Field clinic with activities including an opening ceremony and children's educational outreach.

The nation-wide celebration is held to recognize the work and dedication of professionals in the career field and activities were organized in conjunction with this year's theme of "Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring."

The end of the week coincided with International Nurse's Day, which was selected to fall on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is widely recognized as the founder of nursing as a modern profession.

As part of the opening ceremony, Maj. Barbara Cain, chief nurse of 1 SOMDG, presented a proclamation designating the week-long observation at Hurlburt Field.

"Air Force nurses and technicians touch the lives of our family members and friends, giving first class compassionate, quality care," read the proclamation signed by Cain. "We at Hurlburt Field have a distinctly higher calling to ensure that those individuals, families and retirees who defend our freedoms receive world-class healthcare always and anywhere around the world. The week serves as a platform to celebrate the ways in which nurses and medical technicians strive to provide safe, high quality care to our customers."

Much of the week's program emphasized to the nurses and medical technicians that their work doesn't go unappreciated. The clinic workers received lunch and an ice cream social where they built their own sundaes. Nurses and medical technicians also had the opportunity to step away from work for a few minutes to indulge in chair massages to reduce their physical stress.

"I really enjoyed all of the activities and appreciated the extra effort that was put forth," said Tech. Sgt. Kezia Green, a pediatric medical technician at the 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron.

Besides being rewarded for their work, Hurlburt's nurses and medical technicians used the week as a chance to give back to the base community. They visited the library and Child Development Center East to share more about their professions in the hopes that children will develop an interest in the nursing career field.

"For years nurses were thought of only as helpers to doctors, however nursing has come a long way," said Capt. Jessica Cole, family health clinic nurse manager at the 1 SOMDOS. "It's important to educate and teach future generations that nursing is its own profession dedicated to the care and well-being of patients. It deserves recognition as a professional and scholarly organization that young children can strive to become a part of."

The nurse and technician volunteers helped the children create and decorate paper nurse caps. They also showed off tools of the nursing trade like stethoscopes and needle-less syringes by letting the children try them out for themselves.

The nurses then treated the children to story time with picture books related to going to medical appointments or being a nurse. Some of the children shared their experiences from past doctor's visits and how they braved vaccinations despite them causing "ouchies."

"I think it may help ease their anxiety about going to the doctor," said Amy Sanders, pediatric nurse at the 1 SOMDOS, describing why she volunteered to share stories with the children.

For many of the nurses and medical technicians, the week also brought a time to reflect upon the work they do and their personal reasons for chosing their career path.

"I became a nurse because of my desire to help my grandfather," said Capt. Romeatrius Moss, disease manager for 1 SOMDG. "[When I was] in college, he was diagnosed with heart disease and in less than a year, he died of a massive heart attack. While I visited him, I noticed that the nurse was a constant variable for my grandfather; she was compassionate and really made a difference in the care he received. There's no better feeling than helping someone live a healthier life or die with dignity."

While organizers set this week aside to recognize the dedication of the clinic's healthcare workers, their commitment to quality care should not go unnoticed at other times.

"Let's take the opportunity to recognize their accomplishments and efforts to improve our healthcare system by showing our appreciation for the nation's nurses and technicians not just during this week, but at every opportunity throughout the year," Cain said in the proclamation.