North Carolina native evolves from ED Nurse to ED Physician

By Keisha FrithMarch 29, 2023

North Carolina native evolves from ED Nurse to ED Physician
Dr. Vicki Lanier, Womack Army Medical Center deputy commander of Emergency Services and Department of Emergency Medicine chief, pose for a photo with attending physicians Christopher House and Peter Benson in WAMC trauma room, March 29, 2023. (Photo Credit: Keisha Frith) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BRAGG, NC --After many years of working in the emergency department (ED), then emergency nurse Vicki Lanier, made the decision to attend medical school and become an emergency medicine physician.

Her desire to help people continues to fuel that passion as she serves Soldiers, veterans, and their families at Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC), state-of-the-art medical facility with specially trained and board-certified health care personnel. Dr. Vicki Lanier is the deputy commander of Emergency Services and the Department of Emergency Medicine chief.

“I love working with military personnel, their families and other military staff, it’s a very collegiate and satisfying experience,” said Lanier.

This is not without challenges, as her position carries the responsibility of making sure that they have enough properly trained health care individuals in the right spot at the right time. However, Lanier is proud of her Emergency Medicine Department team and their expertise.

“ED folks are very versatile, they change on a dime, so we can rework what we are doing very fast,” said Lanier. “The ED staff here is great; they are very adept at changing courses and making sure that each patient receives the appropriate care.”

Their goal is to ensure that everyone receives the care that they need in a timely matter.

“We make sure that patients are triaged and treated with those with life threatening medical issues such as life, limb or eyesight being taken care of first,” said Lanier.

Unfortunately, this means that those with less acute problems may have a longer wait time. For WAMC, one of those times is during night jumps, when paratroopers from Fort Bragg are conducting airborne operations. However, Lanier said they make patients aware of this fact because they may not see those patients come in who may need immediate attention.

As patients come into the ED, one of the biggest skills for providers is the ability to make a judgment within a short period of time. They must determine the exact need of the patient. Are they sick, or not sick, do they need to be admitted, or not?

“Most ED physicians with experience can tell you within the first five minutes of evaluating a patient whether they require admission, or possibly discharge,” said Lanier. “They are really good, and the nurses are really good at identifying if a patient is going to need further care.”

Lanier expressed the importance of this skill as ED physicians only have one opportunity to get it right.

“We see that patient one time and we must make sure that we get the diagnosis and the treatment right, or as near as we can. Do we always know the exact problem? No. That is why we refer them to specialists.

According to Lanier, emergency room physicians like herself pursue this field, so that they can take good care of people, a job she finds challenging yet fulfilling.

Outside of the ED, this serious, hardworking physician is a fun-loving mother, who loves to travel and has several trips planned in the future with family and friends.

“I’m always ready for a beach and a good book,” said Lanier.

The Womack Army Medical Center Emergency Department is open 24hrs, while the Fast Track is available Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., to treat non-life-threatening health issues requiring immediate attention.