Air Force’s top nurse visits patients, staff at LRMC

by Chuck Roberts
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs

***image1***Approximately 30 years of experience separate the careers of 2nd Lt. Shelley Briggs and Maj. Gen. Melissa Rank, and both appreciated a recent opportunity to bridge the gap.

“It was a great opportunity to glean some of the wisdom from her years of experience,” said Lieutenant Briggs, one of a few second lieutenants assigned to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for their first duty assignment as a nurse.

Lieutenant Briggs had the opportunity to meet the Air Force’s senior nurse at a staff lunch and again when General Rank spoke at a nurse and technician call as part of her daylong visit Dec. 12 with staff and patients at LRMC.

The opportunity to meet General Rank, the Assistant Air Force Surgeon General for Nursing Services and Medical Force Development, was appreciated by the 22-year-old Lieutenant Briggs, who has been in the Air Force for about four months.
“It brings it down to a personal level,” Lieutenant Briggs said of the chance to hear key nursing issues discussed openly by General Rank, who creates and evaluates nursing policies and programs for 19,000 active-duty, Guard and Reserve nursing personnel. “I especially liked how she asked the Army and Navy representatives their opinions, showing her concern about jointness.”

After presenting Lieutenant Briggs with a training certificate, General Rank reminisced about her career in the mid-1980s when she was a captain stationed in Germany as a staff nurse at Wiesbaden Regional Medical Center.

“Returning here and seeing the missions of today makes me appreciate how well the patients are cared for,” General Rank said after touring the Women’s Care Center. “It brings back many memories for me, too, about things I’ve done during my career.”

One change she said that has occurred during her career, is an increase in jointness in the medical community such as at LRMC where the staffing is composed of about 250 Airmen, 370 Sailors and 1,000 Soldiers.

“The Air Force has been integral to this hospital and military medicine for quite a long time,” General Rank said. “Along with the Navy personnel that are here now, the Air Force is doing everything we can to help the Army here and other theaters elsewhere to carry out their medical mission.”

 (Thomas Warner from LRMC/PA contributed to this story)