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Madigan & Bremerton unite

Navy Nurse Corps enhance clinical sustainment skills in Joint Environment

Magnificent Seven … Lt. Cmdr. Candice West, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton Nurse Core Competency Program manager is flanked by command Navy Nurse Corps officers. Photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer

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BREMERTON, Wash. - With an eye on enhancing joint operation capability and a hand on improving personal and professional competency, Navy Nurse Corps officers have teamed up with Madigan Army Medical Center for clinical sustainment training.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Candice West, seven nurses from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton are piloting this training evolution. Their feedback will determine how the process works - and evolves - in providing suitable opportunities for improving their nursing skills.

"The mission of this training is to provide our nurses with exposure to higher acuity patients - those with challenging medical conditions - which will facilitate and support their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA)," said West, noting that once the feedback has been provided, it will be determined what worked and what could be modified to improve the flow, process and rotation efforts for the nurses involved.

The nurses were assigned to two non-COVID-19 Medical Surgical unit at Madigan Army Medical Center. Taking part in the training were Lt. Cmdr. Anuel Felipe, Lt. Matthew Farnham, Lt. Jose Vargas, Lt. Andrea Mauter, Lt. Tiffinie Isreal, Lt. j.g. Candice Carter and Ens. Jessica Maneja.

West affirms that this opportunity is not only valuable in providing suitable training required to keep skill level(s) relevant, but combines Navy and Army efforts to deliver timely patient-centered care to over 285,000 local beneficiaries in the integrated Puget Sound Military Health System market.

"More and more we are focusing our efforts on joint operations. Standardization and continuity are key if we want to be successful. Working hand in hand with our sister service in this capacity promotes camaraderie, trust, and medical ready forces," West said.

Navy Nurse Corps officers with up-to-date clinical sustainment abilities are also an integral asset in ensuring there's a ready medical force able to support a medically ready force.

"We need to be able to perform our duties in a moment's notice. Those with a primary job outside their deployment nursing specialty are required to perform a minimum of 144 hours per year to support their competence," explained West. "They can do this using different modalities, the best being hands-on at the bedside. However some other options are simulation and continuing education."

"This joint relationship will support staff here at NMRTC Bremerton to be able to fight tonight, added West. "At NMRTC Bremerton many of us lack the exposure to the level of acuity preferred for quality clinical sustainment, so partnering up with Madigan is essential. What you don't use, you lose."

West attests that the clinical sustainment training will not augment the credentials of the nurses, but will enhance their confidence at the bedside or in a deployed setting. That assurance in being able to provide medical care in any operational setting is crucial and adheres to the Navy surgeon general priority of ensuring operational readiness.

"This 100 percent supports the priority. At NMRTC Bremerton we are low-acuity and low-volume. Working alongside our Army counterparts at Madigan will be essential to reinforce and expand our skillsets to the level required to support the call," said West.

Another byproduct of the training is having Navy nurses working side-by-side their Army counterparts and peers. Being able to function and operate in any joint operation environment is considered another critical mission readiness need.

"The sooner we can start to build those relationships and our level of trust and support is extremely important and the better off we all are. It will only make us a stronger force," West commented.

West also affirms that while the clinical sustainment training is not emergency preparedness or public health centric, just the application of sharing insight and information alone provides a boost for the ongoing need to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"Though not COVID-specific training, this training does equip our nurses in the event we need to provide additional support down the road whether on a ship, stand-up hospital or a civilian hospital," West commented. "This is the initial step. Once we have a solid process we hope to expand across NMRTC Bremerton, to include our Branch Health Clinics."

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