MDG provides comfort from the inside out
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Medical Group focused on comfort for both providers and patients during their two-day, in-house training May 16 and 19, 2014 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
The training was conducted in order to alleviate current and prepare for upcoming manning gaps and it started with multiple briefs and commander's calls at every level to ensure the intent was clear. Col. Tambra Yates, 8th MDG commander, viewed this training as more than just enhancing capabilities.
"My goal is to basically change the culture," said Yates. "The culture meaning you give everyone a voice and a comfortable, positive environment to be able to work in."
Yates and her team took an innovative approach by integrating role-play skits into the curriculum. From patient, to provider, to supervisor and beyond, each step of the process was acted out and assessed to identify possible issues. Once an issue was identified, a discussion was initiated to see who could help get to the next step.
"When we'd hit a roadblock each time, we'd say 'okay now who do you want,'" Yates continued. "So we kept putting people in the mix so we could find the problem and create the communication piece."
The training continued with team steps exercises that reinforced the importance of internal communication in providing care for patients.
"What we were trying to accomplish was giving people a voice back, making them comfortable in being able to identify safety concerns and issues and give them a comfort level to be able to not only address leadership, but their peers and subordinates as well," said Yates.
Although these manning deficits will cause some changes at the 8th MDG, the same services will still be available.
"We haven't limited any services at this point, but there is a slight backup in some of the departments due to manning," Yates explained. "It might be a little more difficult to get an appointment; however, we have procedures in place for emergency care."
With sick call being discontinued, patients needing urgent care during the day can report to ambulance services for immediate care, continued Yates. During off-duty hours, patients can call the on-call physician at 010-5464-6153 or call 911 for emergencies.
Despite these changes for on-base care, off-base referrals remain the same. Huichong No, 8th MDG clinical nurse and off-base liaison, helps ease the process of going to a hospital in a foreign country.
"When the need for a base referral is identified, I become the patient's go-to person to help them through the whole thing," No explained. "I brief them on what to expect before the appointment, go to the appointment with them to translate all the medical jargon and I follow up with them after the appointment to discuss their results."
No has been working as a nurse for 20 years and has been at Kunsan for five years. She used to work as a liaison between the 8th MDG and Wonkwang University Hospital, a nearby hospital in Iksan, so working at the Wolf Pack is something she cherishes.
"When I found out I would be working at Kunsan Air Base, I was really looking forward to it," said No. "Every day on my way to work, I pray that I can provide good, quality nursing care to all of the base members. It means a lot to me."
As Yates and her team continue to prepare for the upcoming manning gaps, she emphasizes their focus on providing a comfortable environment for both the patients and medical group staff.
"The whole idea of the training was to create a culture of comfort, safety and positive emotion in process improvement," Yates concluded. "Everybody has the right to good communication, good leadership and safe care. The goal is to take care of my people so they can continue to take care of everyone else."