SEMBACH, Germany – An Army enlisted dental specialist assigned to the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic is doing her part to ensure the safety of her clinic’s staff and patients.
Army Sgt. Diatou Gueye, a 68E dental specialist assigned to the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic, recently completed a fast paced training and certification process in the proper fitting and wear of N95 masks. Her efforts will ensure all personnel assigned to the clinic are wearing protective masks correctly.
“Sgt. Gueye’s training was essential to our continued daily mission requirements to serve patients and maintain safety standards,” said Maj. (Dr.) Katherine Darling Lund, officer in charge of the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic.
According to Army dental leaders, patient safety and health is their number one priority.
“Personal protective equipment is critical to the Vilseck Dental Clinic mission and in maintaining the highest level of safety for all clinic staff and our beneficiaries,” Darling Lund said. “A breakdown in proper PPE halts our clinic operations. Sgt. Gueye’s training was essential to our continued daily mission requirements to serve patients and maintain safety.”
Gueye was the only Soldier from the Vilseck Dental Clinic to undergo the training and receive certification, and she was one of only two Soldiers from the Bavaria Dental Activity to complete the course, so far.
“The N95 mask certification training was very detail oriented,” said Sgt. Gueye. “The installation industrial hygienist conducted the training and certification. We went through an eight-hour class that explained the functions and importance of the N95 mask; especially the importance of obtaining a medical clearance to wear the N95 mask.”
Army dental clinics don’t always receive the exact same products with each shipment and delivery, so it’s important to have someone trained on the variety of masks available.
“In March 2020, the entire Vilseck Dental Clinic team was originally fitted for one type of N95 mask, but due to variations in the supply chain, a different type of mask had to be substituted,” said Darling Lund. “Because key clinical staff cannot perform patient care without a well-fitting, sealed mask, it created a critical situation in which twenty-four Vilseck Army Dental Clinic staff members had to be re-fitted to avoid cancelling patient appointments. Having our dental staff fitted on multiple mask styles allows for adaptability, flexibility and continuity of care for our beneficiaries.”
In light of the current global COVID-19 epidemic, Army health and dental clinics are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their patients and staff.
“Throughout our clinic we maximize the use of hand sanitizer, and we have handwashing stations in every dental operatory,” Gueye added. “We also screen each individual before they enter our clinic and we ask COVID-19 screening questions and take their temperatures to make sure they do not have a fever.”