For CA Soldiers, phlebotomy and fitness are just part of the job
December 20, 2012
Killeen, Texas -- In a classroom that resembles a hospital phlebotomy lab, Soldiers assigned to 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and 81st Civil Affairs Battalion willingly roll up their sleeves and offer their arms for KISD Career Center students as they practice techniques in taking blood from real human beings Dec. 13.
Even though the school offers mannequin-type arms to begin the training process, students need to have the experience of drawing blood from live patients in order to improve on clinical skills, which also include patient interaction and communication.
"Students need that interaction from actual volunteers," said Christie Eggbert, a health science instructor with the career center. "Live patients allow the kids to improve their soft skills by talking to and getting feedback from patients."
Who better to do it than a group of willing Soldiers, some even qualified as medics themselves.
"The Soldiers enjoy interacting with the students--and the students appreciate them," said Eggbert.
Interacting with the students participating in the health science career module is just one way the Fort Hood Soldiers participate with the adopted school. Understanding that Soldiers are required to stay fit for the fight, KISD Career Center staff asked for assistance in the development of a physical training program.
Allison Schannap Belliveau, the Career Center coordinator, first began talking to unit representatives last year, expressing an interest in developing a program that would focus on general health and fitness of the staff.
"Our overall focus was the health and wellness as a staff," Belliveau said. "When you work out [your body], you are mentally in better shape, too. Being prepared mentally makes us better teachers, so it helps the students as well."
Originally planned for six weeks, staff members have requested an extension. With the New Year just around the corner, there is an expectation that more of the 29-person staff will be willing to get involved to meet some of those elusive New Year resolutions.
"Usually our group varies between four and 10 people," said Belliveau. "We are hoping that after the New Year, we will see more of the staff at our workouts."
One of the additional side effects these PT sessions have had is an improvement of the overall well being and attitudes of those that work out.
"The workouts help to build relationships. We encourage one another to push farther," Belliveau said. "I also think it builds teamwork."
Eggbert agrees on the importance of the program and hopes to see it grow.
"I wish we could make it mandatory," Eggbert said. "When I workout I am more attentive and patient with the students. I also feel good after the workout when we leave in the afternoon."