For the first time ever, the 375th Medical Group became a training site for Family Nurse Practitioner students enrolled at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
The 375th MDG’s inaugural USUHS doctoral student, Maj. Tiffany Williams, arrived here July 25 and will remain on station until the end of her rotation in September. Experienced 375th MDG health care providers have mentored her as she works within the Family Health Clinic.
“The most challenging part of the program was going back to school after 12 years letting go of the nursing role and accepting the role as the provider,” said Williams. “In the past I would do what the doctor asked me to do for the patient.
“Now I’m the one asking the nurses or techs to do things for the patient. Then I develop a plan of care along with my patients on how we are going to handle their care.”
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Williams primarily worked at the Scott Family Health Clinic, with Capt. (Dr.) Jessica Colanese as her main preceptor (trainer) and Physician’s Assistant First Lt. Tyler Champagne as her secondary; however, she has rotated through various specialties, including dermatology and radiology to experience understanding of ancillary services and learn the value of working with these departments.
“Being new to clinic operations, I get to see the practice management, how everything works and flows, and processes for referrals and profiles,” said Williams.
“I get a glimpse of what I will be stepping into.”
The success of the inaugural USUHS doctoral student program at the 375th MDG was a team effort. Lt. Col. Andrew Aycock, FHC commander, and Master Sgt. Brenda Roskum, FHC flight chief, worked to ensure patient appointment times and schedules allowed adequate time for additional evaluation and patient care discussions. This was accomplished with extensive planning and coordination with the 375th MDG Practice Manager Lt. Col. Angela Yuhas, who designed specific templates and schedules to ensure efficiency and quality for patients.
Stephanie Threats, director of medical education, ensured all necessary documents, credentialing and approval was coordinated.
“I have envisioned the addition of Family Nurse Practitioner (USUHS) Doctorate student rotations since being approached by members of the USUHS faculty two years ago,” said Threats. “Currently we are a training site for medical and dental residencies, and I am thrilled and proud that we are now a training site for nurse practitioners.”
The USUHS Phase II Site Director Lt. Col. Brian Kittelson, visited the 375th MDG for two days to conduct a site visit and to hold a lunch ’n’ learn session with 375th MDG and 375th AES nurses and 4Ns (Emergency Medical Technicians). He discussed the differences between a PhD and Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree, among other things.
“The purpose of faculty tied to the USUHS coming to do a site visit, where we have students placed, is for: accreditation purposes, making sure the student is getting the experience we intended and to meet the people who are doing the work to help the students gain the experience they need,” said Kittelson.
The University’s Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, established in 1993 with the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, has since grown in size and scope. After celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the year 2014 served as a “year of transition” when the school initiated its Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program—with accreditation and full execution of integration with the services.
The GSN is the only military and federal Graduate School of Nursing. This premier school is entrusted with educating the next generation of military and federal nurse leaders, scientists, clinicians/practitioners, educators and policy makers.
“These are the first Air Force Doctorate of Nursing Practice students graduated and trained in the military setting,” said Kittelson. “Train your own the way you want them to be trained.”
GSN graduates achieve a level of competence and professionalism that far exceeds standards, Kittleson said. They benefit from a practice and evidence based curriculum that emphasizes operational and field medicine as well as military families, health conditions unique to federal and military beneficiaries, and of course, military and health care leadership.
“The Air Force is gaining a nurse practitioner who is going to be a primary care manager and has a commitment to the AF for the next five years,” said Kittelson. “It behooves us to train them in the facilities they are going to work at because they are committed to us.”
For more information on how to apply, go to the USUHS Graduate School of Nursing home website.