LANDSTUHL, Germany –
Soldiers, staff and others celebrated the week-long Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Nurse, Medic, Tech Week, May 6-12. In the United States, the week is celebrated as National Nurses Week and commemorates the contributions and impact nurses have in the medical field.
Recognizing the nurse, medic, technician team is especially relevant as they have served on the front lines of the COVID-19 response and take leading roles to advance military health and readiness. During the week-long celebration, staff organized various activities to honor LRMC health care team members, including a wellness day which featured various health and wellbeing activities.
“It's been a fantastic week,” said U.S. Army Col. Jana Nohrenberg, LRMC’s former Chief Nursing Officer.
Annually, members of the LRMC health care team are highlighted with special recognitions, including distinguishing top performers in five professions: Advanced practice nurse, registered nurse, licensed practical (vocational) nurse, medic and technician of the year.
“All the people that were nominated as well as those who were selected, epitomize nursing here at LRMC and they focus on the center of gravity which is quality and safety for our patients and beneficiary population. Most of them take it the next step and bring evidence into practice,” said Nohrenberg.
The week concluded with activities and dining for LRMC nurses, medics and technicians including the traditional passing of the baton ceremony as Nohrenberg relinquished responsibilities as CNO to U.S. Army Col. Jodelle Schroeder. The passing of the baton marks the transfer of responsibility of all nursing practice to the new CNO, symbolizing acceptance of responsibility to provide expert nursing care and maximize the patient care experience.
“So much has happened in the last two years,” said Nohrenberg of her time as CNO.
Nohrenberg mentioned several milestones including a successful survey by The Joint Commission, preparations for potential mass casualties due to tensions in the Middle East and later the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hospital staff’s response to the ever-changing medical environment during the pandemic.
“Fortunately we didn’t have to apply that (mass casualty plan), but what it did show was that (the LRMC) team is amazing,” said Nohrenberg.
In March 2020, LRMC launched its COVID-19 response efforts, essentially shutting down primary and non-essential care at the only forward-stationed medical center for U.S. & Coalition forces, Department of State personnel, and repatriated U.S. citizens. Although patient intake slowed during the initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential staff members, such as nurses, medics and technicians continued to train, educate and prepare themselves, proving their commitment and versatility during the initial uncertainty of the pandemic.
“We brought nurses (to inpatient wards) from the outpatient clinics, and into the critical care unit, rapidly bringing them up to speed on critical care skills, knowledge and capabilities,” said Nohrenberg, while also mentioning administrative personnel who were essential in response efforts as well. “This is just evidence that when it really gets to the crux of the problem, (staff) will throw things down, gather around the problem and work together to get after it. People just did what they needed to do, so I couldn't be more proud of the team through the COVID response.
“COVID-19 is just one small piece of what the nursing profession does here at (LRMC) you take care of anybody and everybody that comes through that door whether they come from Djibouti, Afghanistan or if they trip and fall right here in the streets of (Landstuhl, Germany), (LRMC medical staff) do all of that and flex every single day,” said Nohrenberg.
Ironically, Schroeder, who previously served as LRMC’s Deputy Commander for Army Health Clinics, was also one of Nohrenberg’s trainees 25 years ago and had never worked together until being stationed at LRMC.
“For most young (military) nurses, the opportunity to come to LRMC is one that they talk about as cadets. Never did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to do this,” said Schroeder. “I believe things happen for a reason, to follow in (Nohrenberg’s) footsteps here to me is just really surreal. I'm super excited for the opportunity to continue to perpetuate all the goodness that she has spearheaded with you all and in conjunction with you all here.”
LRMC is the largest U.S. hospital outside the United States where it serves as the sole military medical center for more than 205,000 beneficiaries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the only American overseas Level III Trauma Center outside the United States.