Medical Detachment sharpening their skills during deployment to Italy

By:  Stacy Floden, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

The Medical Detachment deployed to Vicenza, Italy to assist with primary health care services. (left to right) Capt. Mark Martin, Sgt. Lance Mudd, 1st Lt. Dakota Lawler, Sgt. Christopher Sheridan, Maj. Kelly Pesis, Staff Sgt. Jay Ervin, Sgt 1st Class Becky Schneider and Maj. Scott Suttles

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Medical Detachment deployed a team of providers, nurses, and medics to Vicenza, Italy for overseas training in September. The team consisted of one nurse practitioner, one physician assistant, two registered nurses and four medics. The detachment provided access to primary care services for Soldiers, retirees and their beneficiaries at the Vicenza Health Clinic located on Camp Ederle. The Soldiers primarily saw patients for acute issues, allowing the providers and medics permanently stationed there the ability to see their established patients during scheduled appointments.

“This deployment gave our Soldiers the opportunity to see how a primary care clinic functions within an Army community,” said Maj. Scott Suttles, clinical training officer for the medical detachment. “Our primary mission in the Kentucky Guard is to ensure medical readiness for all of our Soldiers across the state. The assignment was a broadening opportunity that allowed our Soldiers the ability to function outside of our regular mission.”

The Soldiers also worked with providers and medics from the 173rd Airborne Brigade during a mass immunization event. The detachment assisted with the Soldiers that were either deficient with immunizations or were preparing to deploy. Maj. Suttles also had the opportunity to teach chest tube insertion with two medics from the 173rd that were preparing for the Best Medic Competition in San Antonio, TX.

“This mission allowed our soldiers the opportunity to experience another realm of Army medicine outside of our normal duties within the Guard”, said Suttles. “Many of our Soldiers that deployed, already work in a healthcare setting. However, a few have civilian positions that do not afford them the chance to perform medical tasks on a daily basis.”

As citizen Soldiers, Kentucky National Guard medics are at times restricted to the experiences dictated by the needs of the unit’s mission. The opportunity to work at the Primary Care Clinic in Vicenza, Italy, provided an opportunity for medics to work and learn in a unique environment.

“We were able to hone our skills with the active duty electronic medical records system, patient screenings and work with pediatric and geriatric populations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Becky Schneider, medical technician with the Kentucky National Guard Medical Detachment. “The opportunity allowed us to become more mission ready in the event of an activation.”

The chance to work in the Primary Care Clinic has made the Soldiers more capable, diverse medics ready for any mission that may come their way.