By Douglas Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs OfficerNovember 19, 2019
NAVAL HOSPITAL BREMERTON, BREMERTON , WASH. -- Naval Hospital Bremerton's (NHB) Multi Service Unit (MSU) recently received multi service support that augmented the inpatient medical and surgical care they provide.
1st Lt. Lauren Odegaard, from Madigan Army Medical Center, provided assistance for the entire month of October, 2019, for NHB's MSU to help with staffing shortages.
"It was unprecedented. After some logistical work between both the Navy and Army, we were able to submit a cross-level request for assistance," said Lt. Kaitlyn Harmon, NHB MSU nurse, noting that they were in need of additional staffing due to the overlapping of permanent change of station season and unforeseen civilian departures.
During her relatively short -- but helpful time - with NHB's MSU, Odegaard worked on the recovery unit where she treated over 80 patients recovering from same-day surgery.
"I was very grateful I was given the opportunity to support Naval Hospital Bremerton. I was fortunate to be chosen in part because NHB and Madigan Army Medical Center share a common charting system, MHS GENESIS," shared Odegaard, assigned to 6 North at Madigan Army Medical Center, a medical-surgical unit that also specializes in delivering chemotherapy and palliative care.
Both military treatment facilities (MTF) deployed the Department of Defense's new electronic health record MHS GENESIS in 2017. MHS GENESIS is a single integrated electronic health record for service members, veterans and their families that integrates inpatient and outpatient, medical, and dental information across the continuum of care, from point of injury -- whether ship, shore, submarine, and squadron - to the MTF or clinic.
The integrated system not only provides connectivity and interoperability between two Defense Health Agency and Puget Sound Military Health System MTFs, but also showed how MHS GENESIS trained staff can seamlessly supplement, support, and sustain patient-centered care in similar - and not so similar -- environments.
Even if from one service branch to another.
"It was very beneficial to have her here. MSU needs 10 nurses to run we were down to eight. Lt. Odegaard supported us allowing three nurses to orient, four to cross train, and one nurse went on emergency leave and the unit was still safely staffed. She also brought guidance from a large military treatment facility to our junior nurses. It was fairly easy once she was here, as a nurse is a nurse. She had MHS GENESIS access and was already on our computer network. She needed very little orientation to become a full-fledged member of our unit," Harmon said.
"The best part of my time at NHB was meeting and connecting with the MSU staff and sharing our experiences in military medicine. Everyone was very welcoming and I felt like part of the team immediately. I was also able to gain experience and learn new skills regarding post-operative care, and was even encouraged to shadow in the Main Operating Room and Post Anesthesia Care Unit," added Odegaard.
According to Harmon, there are plans in place for NHB and Madigan Army Medical Center leadership to meet to discuss the need for each command helping the other during any nursing shortage.
"Odegaard was proof that we are all nurses no matter which branch we are in. In support of readiness and Defense Health Agency, creating a working relationship with Madigan Army Medical Center is the future of military medicine. We can both support each other to provide efficient patient care," stated Harmon.
The additional benefit of having such an arrangement in place is that it would allow NHB's more experienced Nurse Corps officers to work in a U.S. Army Medical Command and help maintain skills and readiness status at a busier medical-surgical unit.
The concerted effort also bolstered operational involvement, understanding and readiness in a joint environment, readily attested by Odegaard.
"I feel honored to have been able to support Naval Hospital Bremerton this past October. I will always remember my experience and hope to be able to collaborate with Navy medicine again in the future," remarked Odegaard.