Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Air Force medical recruiting up while recruiters, applicants serve their communities

Four  military nurses wearing masks Nurses at The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, wear their masks made and donated by Fight for Aloha, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. The delivery was coordinated by TSgt Aaron Shields and one of his nurse applicants. (Courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Nurses Week

FALLS CHURCH, Va.—The COVID-19 global pandemic has thrown obstacles into everyone’s path, but Air Force Health Professions recruiters and their applicants are overcoming these challenges and motivating their colleagues and communities to step up to help others.

"Being an Air Force medic is more than a job, occupation or career, it is a higher calling," said Chief Master Sgt. G. Steve Cum, Chief, Medical Enlisted Force. "With that comes a responsibility to be your best when your patient is at their worst, to understand your role for the greater good of the mission, and to ensure your fellow medical teammates are as prepared as you, because one day, they may be the ones saving you."

The pandemic is increasing unemployment rates, driving many people to seek career paths in health sciences and military medicine.

“They look at us as job security and a way to give back,” stated Tech. Sgt. Ralph Hall Gonzalez, Health Professions recruiter, 318th Recruiting Squadron. “I've received about three times more applications than I did last year at this time.”

Many applicants are rising to the call for helping those in need. One such applicant, a psychiatry resident at a New York City hospital, had discussed the options of joining the Air Force prior to the pandemic.

“As soon as COVID-19 hit, the applicant has been focused on maintaining mental health for his patients,” Hall Gonzalez stated. “The applicant said he found the passion in his job and now wants to do the same thing while wearing a uniform.”

Tech. Sgt. BreAnn Hill, Health Professions recruiter, 348th Recruiting Squadron, has been working with several highly-qualified potential applicants since COVID-19.

“People are so excited to join the Air Force. They are motivated to serve, and protect those who are protecting us,” Hill said. “One of my nursing applicants planned to drive across country to help out in New York City hospitals during the height of the crisis. They really have a drive of service before self and caring for others.”

Hill tells her nurses they are “super heroes without the cape."

Three men in scrubs wearing masks
Health care workers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, wearing scrubs that were donated two weeks ago by recruiters from Air Force Recruiting Service. The donation of these Air Force Health Professions scrubs was led by Staff Sgt. Brandon McKeever, 342nd Recruiting Squadron, B-Flight. (Courtesy photo)

Tech. Sgt. Aaron Shields, a Health Professions recruiter with the 348th Recruiting Squadron, found one of his applicants already giving back. Personal protective equipment has been at a premium during the pandemic. The applicant worked with Fight for Aloha, a volunteer organization, to fabricate and deliver PPE to Queens Hospital in Honolulu where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

“COVID-19 PPE requirements are higher and must meet certain regulations,” Shields said. “We had to make sure they could actually use what we brought, and we also found some other places where they could use other forms of PPE. That is just the type of person we want to join Air Force Medicine.”

One applicant told Staff Sgt. Brandon McKeever, a Health Professional recruiter with the 342nd Recruiting Squadron, that their medical facility was running out of scrubs. Medical recruiters have Air Force-branded promotional full scrubs sets. McKeever coordinated with Vanderbilt Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, and delivered 600 sets. Other recruiters are making similar donations helping the front line medical providers.

To ensure qualified medical profession candidates continue to join the Air Force, recruiters need to get creative during the pandemic. Many hospitals are not allowing guests, meaning recruiters are using other methods to connect with potential recruits.

“Everything has to be remote so we have to engage through Zoom and FaceTime which is more difficult than if you go out and see candidates face-to-face,” Hall Gonzalez said.

The pandemic makes the very process of joining the Air Force more challenging.

“The challenge is trying to get them through the whole recruiting process,” said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Shields, 348th Recruiting Squadron Health Professions recruiter. “The military treatment facilities where our applicants get medically qualified aren’t screening anyone except mission-critical personnel. We reached out to the Navy in Okinawa, and, fortunately, a Navy clinic on Okinawa allowed some of our applicants to screen there.”

Recruiters and their applicants demonstrate their ability to overcome the barriers presented by the national health emergency.

“Our overall mission has not changed,” said Senior Master Sgt. Aaron Akridge, production superintendent of the 318th Recruiting Squadron. “We are always trying to inspire, engage and recruit the highest qualified medical officers. Recruiters have done a phenomenal job because they're resilient and they're going to find a way to get the mission done.”

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of recruiting qualified medical candidates for the Air Force.

"We need the best of the best, the best doctors, the best nurses, and the best medical professionals our nation has to offer," said Cum. "Are you ready to and able to answer the call?"

You also may be interested in...

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Article
6/4/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab.

Approximately 800 Army Reserve soldiers from the U.S. and Europe participated in DEFENDER-Europe 21.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Readiness Capabilities

Mental Health Panel Discusses Impact of COVID-19

Article
6/3/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask speaking on a panel

Walter Reed Bethesda hosts mental health panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Mental Health Awareness Month | Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Based on data, MHS experts encourage vaccines for adolescents

Article
6/1/2021
Sister and brother smiling at each other

With the Pfizer vaccine approved for youth ages 12 to 15, MHS adolescents are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Vaccine Eligibility

“Shots in arms” – OPT planned & coordinated to meet COVID-19 mission

Article
5/28/2021
Military personnel sitting around a table talking

The Department of Defense’s COVID-19 Operational Planning Team has been the quiet force behind the DOD’s vaccination effort since November.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting the first vaccine available to you. Don't hold out for a certain brand; they're all safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins encourages people who are breastfeeding to get the vaccine. Since the vaccine doesn't contain live virus, you can't pass COVID to your baby.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID. We're not sure how long natural immunity lasts, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

What is an mRNA vaccine?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins explains how mRNA vaccines work to protect you from COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins explains the years of research and ongoing monitoring to show how mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Infographic
5/27/2021
Graphic saying that keeping track of your vaccination card is important. Includes a helpful tips section, a link to www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine, and what to do when you didn’t get your vaccination card or don’t have a copy. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right of the page.

Keep track of your vaccination card. Tips include keeping your card on you and taking a picture of it as a backup copy.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Costs and Documentation | Coronavirus

Adolescents ages 12 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
5/27/2021
Son of military personnel receiving his COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer vaccine now authorized for children 12 and older.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Town Hall May 26 2021

Video
5/26/2021
Town Hall May 26 2021

RADM Anne Swap will discuss the National Capital Region's response to COVID-19

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | National Capital Region Market

COVID-19 Town Hall with RADM Anne M. Swap

Article
5/24/2021
MHS and Military OneSource NCR COVID-19 Town Hall with Rear Admiral Anne M. Swap, Director, National Capital Medical Directorate, Wednesday, May 26 at 11:50 a.m. ET

The purpose of this event is to inform National Capital Region (NCR) beneficiaries of DHA’s efforts with battling coronavirus (COVID-19) and encourage them to not delay care.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Adirim, Place laud DHA response to COVID-19 in briefing

Article
5/21/2021
Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place speaking at a press conference

Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, provided a COVID-19 update during a Pentagon press briefing.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Sailors continue to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Article
5/20/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Sailors continue to voluntarily receive one of the three available COVID-19 vaccines.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 34

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.