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

From COVID-19 testing to MHS GENESIS support, lab techs do it all

Military health personnel wearing a face mask using a blood analyzer machine Immunohematology is just another word to a laboratory technician…Hospital Corpsman 1st Class KC Geisler, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Laboratory leading petty officer, purviews an anti-body panel at their blood bank analyzer during a normal high operational-tempo morning (Photo by: Douglas Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton).

Recommended Content:

MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Even though April 18-24, 2021 is designated as Medical Laboratory Professional Week, for laboratory technicians like Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class KC Geisler, there's no slow down or reduction of service taking place during the week.

Geisler, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Bremerton as the laboratory leading petty officer, readily affirms that his lab is central to all health-care provided at the command.

"As a laboratory professional we organically see almost every single patients either through getting their blood drawn or through their specimen(s) that are dropped off to the laboratory," said Geisler.

To describe what lab techs do, Geisler chose a famed fictional detective to illustrate their importance and provide context.

"Laboratorians are the Sherlock Holmes of the medical field. We help to identify cancers and disease through testing and have to ensure that the results that we put out are accurate. Providers depend heavily on the results that we give them so that they can better treat their patient," Geisler said. "To put it simply, providers cannot function without us. Without laboratory results it makes it that much harder to pinpoint that disease or affliction that a patient may have. Yes they could treat the symptoms but without that result to re-enforce their diagnosis, the patient wouldn't be able to get the right quality care that they need."

For 2020, there were approximately 699,500 tests conducted by the Core Lab, including hematology, urinalysis, coagulation, blood bank, point-of-care testing, microbiology and cytology/histology. There were another approximately 36,155 tests conducted at the NMRTC Bremerton Detachment Puget Sound Naval Shipyard lab, approximately 25,535 at the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Bangor lab and approximately17,750 at the NMRTU Everett lab. Three blood drives also collected 120 units.

Providing timely and direct support for COVID-19 testing has become the lab focal point over the past year, and has only added to the routine high operational-tempo of the staff.

"The laboratory became the gateway of all COVID-19 testing in our immediate region. The laboratory had to step up and tackle the pandemic head on with no reduction in schedules. When USS Nimitz was tasked to deploy last year, all of our staff came in over the weekend to order over 4,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests, coordinate logistics, processing, shipping and DOD testing to support getting the carrier underway for deployment as scheduled," Geisler said.

Lab staff also took part in providing approximately 5,750 COVID swab tests for Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Bangor; and approximately 4,250 COVID swab tests for Submarine Group Nine commands.

"When we receive the COVID samples we have to make sure that the sample is correct and acceptable for testing before tested or sent for reference studies," added Geisler. "Our microbiology bench received and validated four FDA approved infectious disease diagnostic analyzers to test COVID-19 and respiratory panels as well as another molecular testing system that can handle 400 COVID tests a day.

"With the implementation of those analyzers, the wait time for COVID-19 results went from three to seven days to mere hours. The efforts of the lab have helped to identify patients that have been infected with COVID-19, which has been instrumental in the care and further precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19," explained Geisler.

The lab team is comprised of two officers, two pathologists, 27 enlisted personnel and 11 civilians. The majority of young Sailors have arrived at NMRTC Bremerton for their first duty station. Their training and understanding of their chosen specialty, as well as work-ethic, has continually been put to the test during every conducted test.

"Our preparedness comes from rigorous training and the constant need to perform daily checks to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the laboratory," Geisler stated. "Most of the techs that we receive are straight from lab school. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders as soon as they set foot in the laboratory, perhaps more so than any other department in the hospital. They all have done a phenomenal job. I am very proud of them!"

Along with all their in-house lab efforts, NMRTC Bremerton also sent two staff to assist with the collection and testing of COVID samples on Guam in response to fleet concentration outbreaks. Another lab officer was sent to augment U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka to assist with conducting PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID testing and facilitate management procedural changes there and at Branch Health Clinic Iwakuni.

The DOD's new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, has been the second major focus for laboratory staff. The command supported the rollout of the new system along the west coast. Staff went on temporary assigned duty to provide subject matter expert assistance at Naval Health Clinic Lemoore, Branch Health Clinic Fallon, NMRTC 29 Palms and six clinics, Naval Branch Health Clinic Port Hueneme, and 13 small outlying clinics of NMRTC Pendleton.

NMRTC Bremerton's Laboratory has been fully accredited by the College of American Pathologists, American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Association of Blood Banks. It is also licensed and the Food and Drug Administration.

You also may be interested in...

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

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Infographic
8/27/2021
If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

Recommended Content:

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

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

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

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

Video
8/24/2021
CSM Gragg speaks about COVID-19

CSM Gragg shares his personal story dealing with COVID and the loss associated with it and urges all to take precautions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | Deployment Health

LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

Video
8/17/2021
LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

LTG Place presents his concerns over those who are still unvaccinated during these unprecedented times. Take the right steps to prevent tragedy befalling your family and schedule your vaccine today at https://tricare.mil/vaccineappointments.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

Video
8/16/2021
Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

‘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 Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

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

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
DHA Logo with the text: Importance of Vaccinations Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place & Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

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

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 40

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.