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Reserve, civilian medical pros build bridge

  • Published
  • By Airman Viola Hernandez
  • 433rd Airlift Wing
It is possible to have the best of both worlds in the medical field. Patients in San Antonio's Southwest General Hospital know what that is.  A new program has 46 Reservists from the 433rd Airlift Wing's Medical Squadron completing annual 15-day training periods working with civilian providers at Southwest General Hospital.

The medical professionals represented specialties like; medical technicians, ward nurses, physical therapists, radiology, laboratory technicians and operating room technicians and nurses. Each Reserve provider is teamed with a civilian counterpart to work side by side on a daily basis throughout their annual tour.

The bridge, as the training program is unofficially called, is the first of its kind in the area and benefits the hospital as well as the Reservists.

"It has been a true gift for the 433rd to team with us," said Pamela Flentge, chief nursing officer at the hospital. "The additional help of already credentialed
staff is appreciated."

This bridge between the civilian and military medical professions will allow patients and providers to experience and see the kind of care family and friends in the military receive, according to Colonel Rene G. Jaso, of the 433rd Medical Squadron Commander and a civilian surgeon at the hospital.

"Each patient here has stated that they are so honored to have been cared for by the 433rd staff," Ms. Flengte said.

"Dedication and kindness demonstrated by the 433rd staff, is greatly appreciated," said Carmen Uriegas, a patient at Southwest General.

"Major Wickline is a wonderful lady, I love her," Ms. Uriegas said as her Alamo Wing nurse, Maj. Janet Wickline, checked the comfort of her IV site. "She's so helpful. I think it's so great to have the military here."

The Reservists received a new sense of community, according to Lt. Col. Pamela Scott, 433rd MDS Chief Nurse and team chief. for this group.

"Besides meeting the mission of the tour, which was the ability to provide patient care and meet individual goals related to that experience, I believe each team member brought a sense of community away from the experience," said Colonel Scott. "This tour, unlike any other tours, gave us the opportunity to get to know the community
and allow the community to get to know us and what we do. This being said, I believe we each feel a great sense of pride gained from a very rewarding experience."

The patient care-giver relationship wasn't the only one to be strengthened during the annual tour.

"I believe the other providers feel that we delivered high quality care," said Colonel Scott. "The team pitched in from the start, whether working with patient assignments, assisting where needed, teaching advanced courses or on the spot training."

The civilian providers were pleased with the effort put forth by the Reservists.

"It is my understanding that the other providers very quickly gained trust in our abilities due to our diverse backgrounds and what they saw in our team on a daily basis," said Colonel Scott. "I believe being invited back by Southwest General for another annual tour says it all."