Med Ops Squadron Commander Trains Afghan Nurses
By Capt. Crystal Williams, 61st Medical Group
/ Published May 21, 2010
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A leader, mentor and former commander of the 61st Medical Operations Squadron, Lt Col Bernadette Anderson is currently deployed to Afghanistan. A combat medic, she has been involved in the launch of an Afghan nurse training program - serving as an instructor and advisor to the Afghan director of Nursing. The program trains students in adult, pediatrics, maternal-child, trauma, mental health and geriatrics nursing.
"I hope future Afghan instructors will be harvested from the top graduates from the Afghan National Security Forces Nursing program and be added to the faculty after training in a Faculty Development program," she said.
The mission of the ANSF Nursing program is leadership in providing compassionate and high quality nursing care during war, peacetime or humanitarian operations in support of the mission of the Afghan Army Medical System and ANSF Medical Healthcare System. The goal is to create a center of excellence for the advancement of nursing science, the promotion of clinical scholarship, and the education of clinical leaders and researchers.
The program runs for 12 months. It's estimated that within two years, the faculty should reach its capacity and transfer the nursing training program to the Afghan faculty with minimal support or consultation from the National Military Hospital or Combined Security Transition Command staff.
The ANSF Nursing program will serve as a pipeline for both the enlisted and officer Nurse Corps through a bridge program with the Kabul Medical University's School of Nursing. The program will fill vacant nursing positions in short term while producing future nursing leaders to enhance the quality of care and life for the ANSF members and Afghanistan as a whole.
"We currently have 40 students. The students are very eager to learn so I am having fun teaching them," said Colonel Anderson.
Recently, she also had the opportunity to celebrate Women's Day in Afghanistan participating in encouraging more women to seek higher education, join professions such as nursing, and be proud of wearing the military uniform when on duty.