BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
There are several components within the 9th Medical Group that are working to keep Recce Town’s community safe from COVID-19, each invaluable in their own right. Those that are responsible for directly providing care are the nurses and the medical technicians.
Recce Town’s nurses and medical technicians have not only rapidly adapted, but also continue to conduct their mission of providing quality healthcare during the ongoing pandemic.
Capt. Sheila A. Gaines, 9th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Flight Commander of the Operational Medical Flight, is in no small part responsible for the rapid change in operations.
“I quickly established new plans to change our daily operations for patient care,” Gaines said. “I implemented drastic changes in how we operate through new policies and procedures for my entire staff.”
Gaines added, the medical teams that were to follow these new procedures were prepared to manage these new tasks through video training, Powerpoint and Zoom conference meetings.
One of the Airmen actively carrying out new procedures and providing care is Tech. Sgt. Ulla Strömberg, 9th Health Care Operations Squadron Family Care Flight section chief.
“Our normal operations have changed drastically,” Strömberg said. “Our access to in-person care has decreased a great deal but that has allowed us the ability to ‘see’ more patients virtually.”
The virtual appointments are a part of regular operations but are being entertained more due to the pandemic. In addition, the clinic has implemented a drive thru COVID line, which provides patients care while minimizing their contact from others.
“Patients call the ‘COVID hotline’ and depending on their signs and symptoms, they are triaged by a nurse,” Strömberg said. “If warranted, the patient is then scheduled to come in for testing the following day.”
The test is conducted by a “clean technician” that does not procure the test sample or vital signs, but rather just observes, and a “contaminated technician” that obtains all of the necessary information, Strömberg said. After the care has been provided, and information collected, the patient is sent home and will be contacted when their results are ready.
Recce Town’s nurses and medical technicians have proved that even during a pandemic, they will find a way to provide quality healthcare in a safe, comfortable and efficient manner.
“I have been an active duty medical technician for nearly 12 years,” Strömberg said. “I love people, I love caring for them, and my position offers the unique opportunity to not only render care to our Air Force Family, but I get to serve the medical professionals who are taking my place.”