Sep 9, 2011
Naval Hospital Beaufort Pays House Call to Marines
Beaufort, SC – Staff from Naval Hospital Beaufort’s Branch Health Clinic at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island coordinated a mass influenza vaccination last week by providing immunizations at each battalion’s headquarters and bringing Navy Medicine directly to the Marines.
“We asked senior Marine Corps leadership if they had a preference on how and where the vaccine is given and, overwhelmingly, the response was that they wanted the vaccine administered as close to the work space as possible, given the dynamic mission of Parris Island,” said Cdr. Carol Smith, director of branch health clinics for Naval Hospital Beaufort.
In an effort to seamlessly fit medical readiness into the mission of making Marines and stay ahead of flu season, the clinic at Parris Island gathered a pool of immunization certified Hospital Corpsmen and nurses to pay house calls to each battalion aboard MCRD. While this wasn’t easy for the clinic staff, having to transport all the equipment, immunizations, and paperwork to each location, it was very convenient for the Marines on Parris Island, many of whom are drill instructors with demanding schedules. It also ensures maximum compliance of active duty personnel getting their seasonal flu vaccine.
One Marine, Staff Sgt. Ryan Pippin, a drill instructor with Third Recruit Training Battalion, was appreciative of being able to get his vaccine mere steps away from the squad bay where he spends most of his time.
“The recruit training process is all about time management,” said Pippin. “This is great because I can get right back to work training recruits and not miss a beat.”
Last year, staff at the Branch Health Clinic Parris Island immunized 2,640 permanent party personnel at MCRD. They are expected to increase that number this year, as the clinic was able to receive authorization to include Department of Defense civilian personnel who are directly in contact with recruits in the mass vaccinations.
“Even though not all personnel have routine contact with recruits, illnesses like the flu can spread quickly,” stated Smith. “The more staff we have vaccinated, the healthier we can all remain, and that has a positive impact on everyone’s ability to get their jobs done and overall mission readiness. Being able to offer the vaccine to our civilians really is a win-win for everyone.”
This year, clinic staff will be performing eight SHOTEX (shot exercise) evolutions at Parris Island. On Aug. 29 through Sep. 2, teams of approximately six Corpsmen and one nurse spent three hours each day at the headquarters for each of the five battalions within Recruit Training Regiment.
“Initial reporting numbers show compliance for all five training battalions in Recruit Training Regiment at nearly 78 percent from the SHOTEX, so we made good progress toward our overall goal of vaccinating over 90 percent of permanent personnel early on,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sunman, operations officer at the Parris Island clinic.
Currently, the clinic is in the process of scheduling more house calls for the Marines, Sailors, and civilians attached to Headquarters and Service Battalion, Weapons Training Field Battalion, and Eastern Recruiting Region at MCRD.
Open since 1949, Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all active duty personnel, as well as retired military and family members residing in the Beaufort area, a total population of approximately 45,000 beneficiaries.