Ramstein celebrates Nurse-Technician Week

by Lt. Col. Kirsten Benford
86th Medical Group chief nurse

National Nurses Week takes place from today to Thursday and the theme for this year’s appreciation week is “Nurses Trusted to Care.” 

The Air Force Medical Service takes the celebration of this week one step further by showing appreciation for medical technicians as well, making it not just National Nurses Week, but also Nurse-Technician Appreciation Week. 

Nurses and technicians are an integral part of the provider team. At the 86th Medical Group, there are more than 100 nurses and technicians assigned to multiple settings, including family health, pediatric, flight medicine, medical management, the Contingency Aeromedical Staging facility, immunizations and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

With the Air Force surgeon general’s emphasis on the patient centered medical home, the nurses and technicians are increasingly able to collaborate as a team with the providers to deliver the best quality health care to their beneficiaries.  
According to the American Nurses Association, nursing is an art and a science that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions.

In honor of Nurse-Technician Appreciation Week, here are a few personal stories from some of the nurses and technicians:

• Airman 1st Class Alisha Ropkin has been in the Air Force for a year and a half.  She says her best experience was when someone told her she would make a great doctor because of her patient care skills. She has had excellent mentoring from doctors, nurses and other technicians.

• Capt. Julia Focht has been in the Air Force for two and a half years. She recently returned from a humanitarian deployment to Honduras where she helped care for individuals in underdeveloped villages. She said she remembers how gracious the population was when they received medical care.  

• Staff Sgt. Renea McCoy has been in the Air force for 12 years and has worked in labor and delivery, immunizations and now preventive health assessment. She was deployed to Qatar where she treated an emergency gunshot wound and applied her emergency medical technician skills many times during her four-month tour.

• Senior Master Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez is the senior medical technician at the medical group. During his 22-year career in the Air Force, he has spent much of his time as an aeromedical evacuation technician on several different aircraft. His most memorable experience was flying on a 26-hour mission from Europe to Africa, where he helped transport six injured marines who were
rappelling from a Cobra Attack helicopter off the coast of Somalia.  

• Maj. Renee Vincent is a pediatric nurse practitioner. She has been in the Air Force for 18 years and has spend most of her time working in maternal-child health. Her most rewarding experience was her humanitarian experience in El Salvador where she helped care for 6,000 children. She said the children and their families were very grateful.

Although our medics have encountered a wide variety of experiences, we still enjoy taking care of our beneficiaries here at home and keeping our Airmen healthy, fit and mission ready. 

Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon, 86th Airlift Wing commander, has signed a proclamation to call upon all members of the 86th Airlift Wing to celebrate the nurses’ and medical technicians’ accomplishments and efforts to improve the military health system and show appreciation for the Air Force Medical Service’s nursing services personnel, not just this week, but at every opportunity throughout the year.