The COVID-19 pandemic shinned a bright light on the medical field in 2020 and highlighted just how crucial medical personnel are to our society.
None was truer at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., when the ever-busy 412th Medical Group administered an astounding 213,027 COVID vaccines to Edwards AFB personnel, beneficiaries, and at the Detroit Metropolitan area on deployment while supporting FEMA’s COVID operations.
Additionally, medical technicians and nurses administered more than 1,500 COVID tests at Edwards—while they continued to achieve the mission of “powering readiness through health” for the 412th Test Wing community.
To highlight these achievements, the 412th MDG paused and celebrated the Air Force’s Nurse and Tech Week, which coincides with National Nurse Week, to honor and thank the medical technicians and nurses of the 412th TW community.
Nurse and Tech Week is the Air Force’s version of celebrating its healthcare professionals.
“Nurse Week reflects Florence Nightingale’s birthday—she is the first nurse and credited with starting many of the nursing concepts,” said Lt. Col. Yvonne L. Storey, chief nurse executive, 412th MDG, 412th TW. “Nurse and Tech Week for the Air Force starts a week before her birthday and runs a week long.”
National Nurse Week begins each year on May 6 and ends May 12, the birth date of Florence Nightingale, who was a British nurse, social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing.
“We celebrate Nurse Week to reflect on the great things that our nurses do,” said Storey. “Especially in the year of COVID, whether it’s critical care, emergency room, family health, or all of the nursing specialties…all of our nurses and technicians do so much to help our community.”
Within Edwards AFB, medical services are provided at two separate locations to accommodate the wide spread of beneficiaries: at the main clinic and at the annex.
“We wanted to make sure we celebrated our folks at both campuses,” said Storey. “We started the week with a pancake and waffle breakfast at the main clinic and the annex. Then, we had smoothies and sundaes with all the toppings at both locations.”
The events culminated on May 12 with a birthday celebration and birthday cake to recognize Florence Nightingale and several other nurses who are history-makers that have made significant impacts to the nursing field, according to Storey.
“Nurse and Tech week is important because what you don’t celebrate, you forget,” said Storey. “If we forget history, we’re likely to repeat it and if we don’t take a moment to reflect on what someone has done for us, we tend to minimize what they’ve done. It’s a moment to appreciate who we have, what we have, and to therefore be better together.”
Storey acknowledged that the relationship between the nurse and the tech is a partnership and mutually beneficial that is stemmed from a specific mindset with similar qualities and interests.
“I like seeing patients—I’ve always liked helping people out, trying to make things easier for them and making them feel comfortable,” said Airman First Class Madeline Maglione, medical technician, 412th MDG, 412th TW. “It’s so satisfying to know that at the end of the day you helped someone.”
Maglione has spent most her time at Edwards administering the COVID-19 vaccine at the Edwards vaccination center in the Airman and Family Readiness Center. “You know you’re making a difference when you’re vaccinating so many people,” added Maglione. “You’re helping the general population, as well as the military.”
As a medical technician, Maglione appreciated the mentorship that 412th MDG nurses and senior techs have provided, which she has credited as the foundation of the unit’s camaraderie.
“I definitely love this job, I wouldn’t want any other job in the Air Force,” said Maglione. “I’ve learned a lot and the providers are very helpful; they like to teach, which is nice.”