IPPS-A Analyst steps up during COVID-19 pandemic to “Do what I trained to do”
Maj. George H. Johnson prepares himself to treat a patient with COVID-19 in this picture dated April 14, 2020 at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va. Johnson volunteered to work at Fort Belvoir Community Center to support the COVID-19 response effort after reading an email from Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, Deputy Chief of Staff G1, encouraging retired and former Soldiers, who served in the health care field, to volunteer and support the COVID-19 response. Johnson, an active duty Soldier working for the Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) as a business intelligence analyst, took the call to heart. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Aristotle once said: “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” For Maj. George H. Johnson, IPPS-A Business Intelligence Analyst, his decision to volunteer at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital to support the COVID-19 response effort is about using his Army skills to answer the needs of the nation during a global crisis.

A career-long member of the Army Nurse Corps, Johnson decided to offer support to Fort Belvoir because “this is what we train for.”

“My motivation goes back to why I joined the Army Nurse Corps,” said Johnson. “I want to be on the front-line treating Soldiers and their families. Considering we’re enduring a massive health crisis, I want to do what I was trained to do.”

On March 25, Lt. Gen Thomas Seamands, Deputy Chief of Staff G1, communicated to the field that the Army was asking retired and former Soldiers, who served in the health care field, to volunteer and support the COVID-19 response.

The request struck a chord with Johnson, who knew his skills in critical care nursing would be vital to the COVID-19 response.

“One of the most important skills we possess is knowing how to operate ventilators,” said Johnson. “Patients can get worse even while on a ventilator, so it’s essential to have nurses who know how to adjust the settings on the ventilator, so it continues to provide the proper amount of oxygen to the patient.”

Johnson is working three to four days a week at the hospital, pulling 12-hour shifts.

He treats one COVID-19 patient per shift to avoid exposing other patients to the virus. The type of care the patient gets ranges from a ventilator to high-flow oxygen. When Johnson isn’t treating COVID-19 patients, he treats other beneficiaries who need care.

He’s also using his background as an informatics nurse to assist the hospital. Informatics nursing involves delivering high-quality patient care through efficient management of data and technical systems. Using data, an informatics nurse can analyze trends, monitor for any consistent errors, and implement new, more efficient systems. Johnson is helping the hospital ensure they have the right technology to respond not only to this outbreak, but future potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

His experience with informatics is what gave him the skills to work on the IPPS-A project.

“Major Johnson's analytics and data background make him an integral team member for the program,” said Sgt. Maj. Stephanie Owens, IPPS-A Senior Enlisted Advisor. “Data modeling and analysis will be essential features in Release 3. Johnson's stepping up to volunteer and help others comes as no surprise. He's been a great team player since day one.”

Johnson added that it’s been an adjustment going from an office job with IPPS-A to a hospital dealing with a pandemic.

“This is a whole different ball game,” said Johnson. “We’re dealing with life and death, so the pressure is higher. However, we take a lot of pride in what we do. The feeling when a critically ill patient gets better is very rewarding.”

Though he’s proud of his decision to volunteer, Johnson doesn’t want any special treatment. He wants to do his part in helping the Army, and America, get through the pandemic.

“I didn’t join the Army or the Army Nurse Corps because I was looking for accolades,” he said. “I have a desire to want to help people and make situations better. What better way to do that than helping in a situation like this?” (Story by Justin Creech, IPPS-A STRATCOM)

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