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

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 | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

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...

ARNORTH military support to FEMA begins in Tennessee, continues in five states

Article Around MHS
9/24/2021
Prepared COVID-19 vaccine shots wait to be administered to an Airman. Members of the 134th Air Refueling Wing were eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccines during Unit Training Assembly here May 2nd, 2021.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approximately 20 military medical personnel deployed to Tennessee to support civilian healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in local hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 can lead to long-term health concerns

Article Around MHS
9/23/2021
Debra Lamb, a 30-year civil service veteran at Ft. Carson, contracted the COVID-19 virus late in 2020 and experienced a harrowing ordeal before partially recovering months later.

Debra Lamb, a 30-year civil service veteran at Ft. Carson, contracted the COVID-19 virus late in 2020 and experienced a harrowing ordeal before partially recovering months later.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus

6th Medical Group Delivers Mandatory Vaccines

Article Around MHS
9/21/2021
An Airman from the 6th Medical Group prepares a COVID-19 vaccine for distribution at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Airmen from the 6th Medical Group began redistributing doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, on Sept. 9, 2021. This comes after the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum on Aug. 23, 2021, mandating all active duty personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vaccines for Teens

Infographic
9/17/2021
Adolescents can get COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine has been tested for those ages 12-15. Visit www.TRICARE.mil/VaccineAppointments to make an appointment.

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Vaccine Eligibility

Get to Know the Vaccines

Infographic
9/17/2021
Get to know the vaccines – types of vaccines, how they work and safety monitoring.

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Infographic
9/17/2021
Get to know the vaccines – they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously.

Get to know the vaccines - they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to Know the Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

Get to know the vaccines – they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Got Your 6

Video
9/16/2021
Got Your 6 Infographic

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, on days that end in ‘6.’ It includes the latest information about DOD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil

Recommended Content:

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

After the ventilator COVID survivor advocates for vaccine

Article Around MHS
9/15/2021
Tim Harris is sedated while on a ventilator

Tim Harris, a mobilization and planning specialist, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, is sedated while on a ventilator at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, June 27, 2020.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army Medicine Europe Provides Additional COVID Vaccinations for Immune Compromised

Article Around MHS
9/13/2021
Franz Dietrich, a German local national assigned to Training Support Activity Europe, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the 7th Army Training Command's (7ATC) Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, May 4, 2021. The U.S. Army Health Clinics at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck conducted a "One Community" COVID-19 vaccine drive May 3-7 to provide thousands of appointments to the 7ATC community of Soldiers, spouses, Department of the Army civilians, veterans and local nationals employed by the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photo by Markus Rauchenberger)

Army medical treatment facilities in Europe are now offering an additional dose of COVID vaccine for immune compromised beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 42

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.