18th MEDCOM (DS) shares nursing experiences with Radford H.S.

| December 19, 2014 | 0 Comments
HONOLULU—Col. Rebekah Sarsfield, the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) Public Health Nurse, teaches students in the Radford High School Healthcare Services Career Pathway about communicable diseases and prevention, medical ethical dilemmas, and what it takes to be a nurse, Dec. 8.

HONOLULU—Col. Rebekah Sarsfield, the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) Public Health Nurse, teaches students in the Radford High School Healthcare Services Career Pathway about communicable diseases and prevention, medical ethical dilemmas, and what it takes to be a nurse, Dec. 8.

Story and photos by
Sgt. 1st Class Nicole Howell
18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) Public Affairs
HONOLULU — As part of the Army School Partnership Program, the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) public health nurse, Col. Rebekah Sarsfield, taught Radford High School’s Healthcare Services students about communicable diseases and prevention, medical ethical dilemmas and what it takes to be both a civilian and an Army nurse, Dec. 8.

Radford High School and 18th MEDCOM (DS) have a standing relationship through the Army School Partnership Program where the unit has the opportunity to give back to the community by providing medical field experts the ability to interact with the students through classroom style teaching.

“Any one of these students could potentially be our future replacement as we seasoned medical professionals fade away,” said Sarsfield. “Knowledge is power, and the more they know about the (medical) profession, the better they can make informed decisions about their future.”

Sarsfield, a nurse for 33 years, explained in the first class how different communicable diseases are transmitted and how each person can minimize the spread of viruses and bacteria.

“The best way to prevent the spread of viruses is through good hand hygiene practices and to use standard precautions with other people,” said Sarsfield. “Standard precautions are basically making the assumption that everyone could potentially have a communicable disease when it comes to potential exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, secretions or excretions.

“One standard precaution,” she added, “is to treat everyone as if they might have a communicable disease.”

Generating interaction
During the questions and answers segment, students asked pertinent questions about the transmission of communicable diseases.

“Since antibiotics are not used on viruses, how do you treat them?” said a health care student in the first class.

“For viral illnesses, antibiotics will not work, so we can only treat the symptoms and the course of the illness,” Sarsfield said.

She went on to discuss different types of transmission of these diseases, such as droplet, air and indirect and direct contact.

“Some viruses are heavy and only travel in the air about 3 feet and then drop,” Sarsfield explained. “Those are droplets. Airborne transmission lingers in the air longer like measles. Then, some diseases like Hepatitis A can be passed through contaminated food.”

Getting personal
Sarsfield also discussed her personal experiences as a nurse, what it takes to become one and the school requirements for both military and civilian nursing.

For a civilian nurse, you can do a two- or four-year degree, said Sarsfield. To become an active duty Army nurse, you have to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Sarsfield began her career as a civilian nurse for 13 years before joining the military ranks.

“The Army was the best decision I have ever made,” Sarsfield said. “I love the variety of experiences and most of all taking care of our service members.”

That prompted student questions about nursing in the military.

“What are some of the military nursing specialties?” asked a Radford High School Navy JROTC student.

“They are critical care, acute care, surgical, obstetrics and gynecology (OB), psychiatry, public health and many more,” Sarsfield replied.

Learning options
Sarsfield urged students to learn that there are options ahead for them, both civilian and military, and being a nurse is a noble and rewarding field, especially Army nursing.

“It was a privilege to share information that will hopefully have a positive influence on decisions they’ll be making to shape their future,” said Sarsfield. “Nursing is not for the faint at heart, but for those that choose to serve, it;’s priceless!”

 

 

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Category: Community, Community Relations, Education

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