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Navy Medicine shifts emphasized at Operational Deployment Panel

17 June 2024

From Douglas Stutz

A notable distinction between Navy Nurse Corps officers and their civilian counterparts is that military personnel can get called upon – sometimes at a moment’s notice – as a ready medical force to pack up and support a medically ready force.Operational commitments and mission readiness are hallmarks of Navy Medicine and Nurse Corps officers, along
A notable distinction between Navy Nurse Corps officers and their civilian counterparts is that military personnel can get called upon – sometimes at a moment’s notice – as a ready medical force to pack up and support a medically ready force.

Operational commitments and mission readiness are hallmarks of Navy Medicine and Nurse Corps officers, along with Dental Corps, Hospital Corps, Medical Corps and Medical Service Corps personnel.

Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton held an Operational Deployment Panel for all interested staff members to learn and discuss various operational deployment assignments.
During Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Operational Deployment Panel, those who recently returned from various deployments – such as Lt. Agustina N. Aure, Navy Nurse Corps officer, Urgent Care Clinic division officer and event organizer - shared their experiences, answered any questions and provided guidance on such operational undertakings as the annual Pacific Partnership mission, expeditionary resuscitative surgical system, expeditionary medical unit rotation(s), and more (official Navy photos by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).
During Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Operational Deployment Panel, those who recently returned from various deployments – such as Lt. Agustina N. Aure, Navy Nurse Corps officer, Urgent Care Clinic division officer and event organizer - shared their experiences, answered any questions and provided guidance on such operational undertakings as the annual Pacific Partnership mission, expeditionary resuscitative surgical system, expeditionary medical unit rotation(s), and more (official Navy photos by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).
During Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Operational Deployment Panel, those who recently returned from various deployments – such as Lt. Agustina N. Aure, Navy Nurse Corps officer, Urgent Care Clinic division officer and event organizer - shared their experiences, answered any questions and provided guidance on such operational undertakings as the annual Pacific Partnership mission, expeditionary resuscitative surgical system, expeditionary medical unit rotation(s), and more (official Navy photos by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).
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During Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Operational Deployment Panel, those who recently returned from various deployments – such as Lt. Agustina N. Aure, Navy Nurse Corps officer, Urgent Care Clinic division officer and event organizer - shared their experiences, answered any questions and provided guidance on such operational undertakings as the annual Pacific Partnership mission, expeditionary resuscitative surgical system, expeditionary medical unit rotation(s), and more (official Navy photos by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).
Photo By: Douglas Stutz
VIRIN: 240617-N-HU933-1111

A panel of those who recently returned from various deployments and taskers shared their experiences, answered any questions and provided guidance on such operational undertakings as the annual Pacific Partnership mission, expeditionary resuscitative surgical system, expeditionary medical unit rotation(s), and more.

According to Lt. Agustina N. Aure, Urgent Care Clinic division officer and event organizer, the panel idea originated with Cmdr. Heather Kirk, chief nursing officer, to help generate awareness, interest and knowledge about opportunities beyond the traditional military treatment facility billet(s).

“We put on the event to provide information and first-hand accounts from people who have done the deployments/taskers,” explained Aure. “Often times, people hear things like ERSS, EMU or MEU [Marine expeditionary unit] and don’t really know what that means, or how that applies to their role in Navy Medicine. We wanted to provide this panel where we could introduce and discuss our experiences. It also gives people names, faces and resources if they have any questions or interest in following the same pathway.”

NHB’s Directorate for Nursing Services last year alone responded to taskers and deployment requirements by sending Nurse Corps officers locally to Madigan Army Medical Center, along the west coast at Naval Hospitals Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton, and far afield to the Caribbean at U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay to across the Pacific at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam and Okinawa, Japan, shipboard support for USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Pacific Partnership 2023, and also in-country Iraq.

Aure attests that the unstated goal of the panel is to ensure those who attended at least take away the belief that there are a number of available opportunities outside of their current assigned duties.

“Adventure is out there. All the pieces do come together- medical, logistical, etc. - in a bigger picture towards military medicine providing operational mission support in real time,” said Aure, adding that there are a number of different opportunities for nurses and corpsmen in military medicine.

“There may be different requirements and pathways, but if you know your options and what your resources are, these opportunities can be reality,” continued Aure. “There is also host nation interaction on some deployments such as Pacific Partnership, which can be a huge highlight for our involvement to interact, build and strengthen partner nation relations.”

“We wanted to bring back our focus to the Navy primary mission which is to deploy, have a forward focus in the world and send assets forward to save lives,” explained Kirk, noting that Navy Medicine’s vision is the need to be prepared as smaller assets on ships.

Deployed ships, whether in a carrier strike group or a Marine expeditionary group, have a full compliment of crew, yet the sheer size of the Pacific means that any conflict could tax manpower as well as logistical and transport needs. Navy Medicine plans to be ready.

“Our focus is smaller units. When deployed, we need to be prepared to potentially hold onto casualties for a longer period with limited resources. My biggest eye opener as a medical surgical nurse going into a medical battalion is really understanding we have limited supplies. What can I do with the supplies that I have to save the most people? We don’t have the luxuries of a ready supply stock on deployment like we have at the military treatment facility.” remarked Kirk.

Common consensus with Navy Medicine and the Defense Health Agency is that future engagement facing a near peer – and equal – adversary will be vastly altered compared to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraq Freedom where U.S. and coalition forces had air superiority for getting casualties to necessary treatment during what became known as the golden hour.

That changing dynamic was touched upon by Lt. Shane Green, emergency nurse assigned to the Urgent Care Clinic. Green shared his experience assigned to a medical battalion which is designed to provide health service support to operational deployed Marine units.

Green described setting up during deployment, “There’s shock trauma platoons for damage control resuscitation to stabilize the patient, stop the bleeding, give them blood, and get them prioritized correctly to the next spot. There’s command and control to handle how patients get brought in and patients get medical evacuated out. There’s the forward resuscitative surgical system which is our operating room. Another section is the holding section for patients coming out of the operating room. Depending on the acuity there’s going to be a convalescing period there. All of this is why medical surgical nurses are there. They might have to stay with patients for a longer period of time and take care of them especially if there is the need to prioritize for higher acuity. Patients could be stuck there. Someone needs to take care of them. There’s also a lab and radiology section with portable x-ray capability. There could also be a lot of field care.”

Green noted that there are defined billets, but demands can dictate not to operate strictly within those defined billets.

“Flexibility is key,” added Green. “We would be focusing on trauma at an ERSS where capability is high, but might be limited by consumables. But an ERSS is small, light and maneuverable. You train to throw in your pack and go.”

A typical ERSS team might have a general surgeon, emergency medicine physician and physician assistant, emergency/trauma or critical care nurse, certified registered nurse anesthetist and hospital corpsmen with specialty training as a surgical technician and respiratory therapy technician.

“We need to keep our skillsets up to be ready to deploy. We might not be all the way prepared. But we have the right baseline of medical knowledge to get through [dealing with casualties] and work as a team to figure it out to save lives at mostly small platform like ERSS and small operating room teams. That’s in our future,” Kirk stated.

Story originally posted on DVIDS: Navy Medicine shifts emphasized at Operational Deployment Panel 

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