Skip to main content

Military Health System

COVID-19 amplifies importance of Trusted Care culture

Image of soldier holding up a badge that says "Trusted Care.". An Air Force airman holds up his Trusted Care badge at the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. (Photo by Josh Mahler.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Preparing for the unexpected has long been an essential part of the military ethos. While you can never fully prepare for something like a global pandemic, the best alternative is having a culture in place that empowers your team to adapt and respond to heightened uncertainty.

For Air Force Medicine, this is the Trusted Care culture.

The vision for Trusted Care has been around for a few years, with the aim of building and nurturing a culture of safety and high reliability throughout the Air Force Medical Service. But the importance of this culture shift has been amplified throughout the COVID-19 fight.

“When an aircraft is experiencing an emergency, the pilots refer to their emergency procedures checklist to narrow down what the cause is, where the smoke is coming from and how to alleviate it,” said Air Force Col. Michele Shelton, special assistant to the Air Force Surgeon General for Trusted Care. “While we didn’t have an emergency checklist for the magnitude of pandemic we were facing with a previously unknown virus, what we do have is an established culture to guide us.”

“In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic,” Shelton continued, “we’ve been able to build on past disease response and rely on the principles of high reliability as our culture checklist to guide us through these challenging times.”

The goal is to create a team of innovators focused on patient safety.

During this pandemic, the Trusted Care culture has been on display through problem solving and innovation from the front line. Specifically, in the development of processes or acquisition of resources to protect both patients and staff. These daily wins in the fight against the virus are attributable to the Air Force Medicine team as a whole.

Air Force Senior Airman Olivia LeBoeuf, a biomedical equipment technician, 15th Medical Support Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, knows the importance of adapting to the situation. Her team, which is responsible for readying critical medical equipment, decided the best way to approach social distancing would be to work through the night in shifts. LeBoeuf rapidly certified and repaired an onslaught of non-contact thermometers and ventilators, even stepping in to train others on the equipment.

“Early on we were all concerned that if COVID-19 hit Hawaii hard, how we would be able to respond, and if we would have enough equipment available,” said LeBoeuf. “I was fortunate to know how to calibrate and repair the ventilators we had in storage, and I was given the opportunity to train Army counterparts on this process as well.”

“It was a great experience, because it enabled me to interact with a variety of units on base that I usually would not have and to be a part of their mission,” said LeBoeuf. “It’s always great to be able to share knowledge.”

Trusted Care’s problem-solving mentality also has a direct impact on patient care. Air Force Maj. Mark Gosling, a registered nurse, 81st Medical Group, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, worked with the critical care team and his Simulation Laboratory team to step in and modify the design of their intensive care unit beds to optimize them for ventilated COVID-19 patients.

“The patient is always our number one focus, but this frame of thinking is even more important when you’re dealing with critical care from a COVID standpoint,” said Gosling. “When you’re using ventilator techniques on a patient, they can’t tell you what they’re feeling, or if they’re uncomfortable. They’re completely dependent on you and how in tune you are with their needs now and throughout their care. So we need to be thinking multiple steps ahead.”

“Much of the COVID-19 response has forced us all to do critical care medicine in a way we’ve never done it before. It’s about chronically adapting and learning as we go how to best treat this virus and save lives,” said Gosling.

Due to the importance of these implications, the AFMS has followed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish policies and procedures to prevent the spread of the virus between the medical facility and the home.

“We’ve instituted the option for staff to change into freshly laundered scrubs at work and change back into uniform or civilian attire when leaving,” explained Ferdinand Blaine, infection preventionist, 96th Medical Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. “The staff can bring home or spread this virus unknowingly, so cleanliness, hand hygiene, common surface area cleaning, staying home when sick, social distancing and wearing a mask or face covering are the keys to defeating this virus.”

The medical group even instituted a “Hy5” hand hygiene campaign, which adopts the practice of saying “High Five” to fellow staff members as an inspirational reminder to perform hand hygiene. The Hy5 campaign extends from the treatment facility into their homes. Medical Airmen understand the importance of maintaining the routine to keep themselves and their families healthy.

Medical airmen, like those with the 96th Medical Group, overcame challenges through creativity as the pandemic expanded. Teams developed ways to safely handle, clean and dispose of contaminated linens and trash while managing personal protective equipment supplies. Relying on guidance from leadership and CDC guidelines, they built self-assuredness in protecting against this new virus.

Trusted Care culture comes down to leadership at all levels of the AFMS, especially in a time when Air Force medical capabilities have become increasingly vital.

“We’ve seen time and time again, our clinicians and non-clinicians working through the complex challenges this virus has brought on the AFMS, let alone, the world,” explained Shelton. “As our Airmen have endured, they have exemplified resilience, in putting people first, taking care of their teams, doing the right thing and seeing the big picture.”

“When you think about Air Force operations, historically the primary operators have been pilots. They are the tip of the spear, the front line, what makes the Air Force the Air Force,” said Shelton. “While the medical community has always been a support function to front line operations, during this pandemic the focus shifted and the medical community has stepped in and become the operator, the tip of the spear.”

At the end of the day, when it comes to challenging situations, the AFMS was built to handle the pressure, and the Trusted Care culture will continue to provide the way.

You also may be interested in...

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

Infographic
4/21/2022
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

If your military hospital or clinic offers these antiviral treatments as part of the COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, use these graphics to promote your services to your beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Treatment

COVID-19 Booster Effectiveness Remained High During Omicron Surge

Article
4/18/2022
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Mary Ashcraft, assigned to the combat ship USS Tulsa, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster to Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class Anthony Johnson Jan. 10, 2022, at Apra Harbor, Guam. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Devin M. Langer, Command Destroyer Squadron 7)

Two new studies of active-duty service members show COVID-19 booster vaccines are effective, but uptake rates in the military community lagged behind the civilian population.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

8 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to Change during the New Pandemic Phase

Article
4/15/2022
A parent comforts his child while she receives a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs)

Parents should prepare their kids for the new normal of the ongoing pandemic, recognizing that the status of the disease can change quickly as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Children's Health

Military Medical Officials Back FY 23 Budget Before Senate Appropriations Committee

Article
4/6/2022
Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing take precautionary measures by cleaning and disinfecting their hands during field day on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 20, 2020, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to perform mission-essential tasks. (Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaime Reyes)

Military Medical officials, including Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, Defense Health Agency director, back FY 23 Budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee, March 29, 2022.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

How COVID-19 Made the Military Medical Community Stronger

Article
3/21/2022
Image of a service member being treated

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic has made the military medical community stronger and will help when confronting the next crisis, whether that’s another pandemic, a new conflict or natural disaster

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Responses Underscore Importance of Patient Safety

Article
3/14/2022
Every day, patient safety is one of the top priorities for the Defense Health Agency. Patient safety means providing ready, reliable care to service members, veterans, and dependents no matter the circumstances. (Photo: Defense Health Agency)

Patient safety is a topmost concern of MHS, and Patient Safety Awareness Week 2022 focuses on Ready, Reliable Care.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Patient Safety Awareness Week | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Patient Safety Awareness Week

Answering Your Questions About COVID-19 Testing

Article
2/25/2022
Military personnel performing a COVID-19 Test

COVID-19 continues to spread, now as the Omicron variant. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect you and your family from getting seriously ill, getting hospitalized, or dying. You should also make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines. Testing is another important step you can take to protect yourself and others.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Defense Department Announces Distribution of COVID-19 Tests for Military Beneficiaries

Article
2/25/2022
A Soldier assigned to the Connecticut National Guard helps load a shipment of at-home COVID-19 testing kits into a truck at a regional distribution point in North Haven, Connecticut, Jan. 3, 2022. These kits were picked up by representatives from local towns and municipalities to be handed out to their communities.

The Department of Defense will offer at-home COVID-19 tests for military beneficiaries at military hospitals or clinics, on a supply available basis, in the coming weeks.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | At-Home COVID-19 Tests | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Latasha Smith: Warrior against COVID-19

Article Around MHS
2/18/2022
Military personnel looking at a patient's cardiac rhythm

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Latasha Smith, an Airman assigned to the 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, was celebrated as Airlifter of the Week, Jan. 27, 2022, after leading the assault against COVID-19 for over a year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Military Medical Units Support Civilian Hospitals Strained By COVID-19 Surge

Article
2/14/2022
Air Force Staff Sgt. Bradley Gorman, a medical technician assigned to a military medical team deployed to Yuma, Arizona performs a nasal swab at the Yuma Regional Medical Center’s COVID testing drive-thru in Yuma, Jan. 17, 2022.

Thousands of service members have been supporting civilian hospitals with testing, vaccinations and treatment of seriously ill patients.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 therapeutics support DOD pandemic response

Article Around MHS
2/11/2022
Military personnel getting COVID-29 doses ready

The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency is helping to protect the operational force by distributing several new therapeutic options that help to lessen the symptoms of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 and keep Soldiers, their families and beneficiaries out of the hospital.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines continues to study long-term effects of COVID-19 on Marines

Article Around MHS
2/10/2022
Medical military personnel talking to a patient

A team composed of U.S. Navy medical personnel and civilian technicians based out of the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, assembled during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 to study the short and long-term effects that the virus has on Marines. 

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

Video
2/9/2022
Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

CSM Gragg demonstrates how to use a COVID-19 at home rapid test.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | At-Home COVID-19 Tests | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Getting up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccine

Article Around MHS
2/8/2022
Military personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Guard Coast is that we have vaccines to help prevent serious illness if you contract COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Additional Dose of mRNA

Infographic
2/3/2022
Additional Dose of mRNA

Should I get an additional dose of the mRNA Vccine?

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 33
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery