By Ms. Suzanne Ovel (Regional Health Command Pacific)September 27, 2018
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (September 27, 2018) -- Just six months after joining Madigan's Warrior Transition Battalion, Staff Sgt. Lacey Kelley was back at her work bench once more doing her part to improve patient care and safety.
"That was my whole goal was return to duty," said Kelley, a biomedical equipment technician who was previously stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, before transferring to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Although in recovery, Kelley immediately worked with her WTB leadership and staff when she joined the unit in January to find out how she could eventually return to her trade of fixing and maintaining medical equipment.
"Sgt. Kelley came into the WTB with a plan for her transition; she knew from day one she wanted to return to duty and she made sure she took the necessary steps to achieve that goal," said Mary Ball, the WTB's transition coordinator.
Not only did Kelley earn her master's degree in organizational development and leadership, but she also started shadowing in Madigan's Clinical Engineering section.
She also jumped into other programs at the WTB -- including shark diving at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
"All of their activities just translated into something better that I could use when I'm at work," Kelley said.
While shark diving led to mindfulness, hiking kept her in shape, and snowshoeing on Mount Rainier led her to a feeling of success.
At the same time, Kelley's job shadowing led to an internship with Clinical Engineering. When the Army cleared her to return to duty in June, Kelley officially joined their team as a technician. Now, she spends her days inspecting, calibrating and fixing medical equipment from algometers to X-ray machines.
"We're pretty much just the silent backbone of the hospital," Kelley said, noting that correctly functioning medical equipment is crucial to safe patient care. "To me it's fulfilling because I could fix a piece of equipment that could potentially help a patient."