Retired nurse answers nation’s call

Lt. Col. Rebecca Mione performs COVID-19 Screening
Lt. Col. Rebecca Mione performs COVID-19 Screening

FORT IRWIN, Calif.  — Just three months ago, Lt. Col. Rebecca Mione was at home in Texas watching the news, when she heard President Trump asking for medical personnel and nurses to come and back-fill positions to help the nation.

“Just in general there are not enough nurses [nationwide] to fill all the positions,” Mione said. “I felt like I needed to be doing something—I still have a lot I can give back.”

Mione retired five years ago but just like that, Mione answered the military’s call to return for duty as an Army Nurse amid COVID-19. Mione, an Arizona native, has been temporarily recalled and stationed at the National Training Center’s Weed Army Community Hospital.

At the end of March, the Army asked retired nurses to come back and help respond to the overwhelming need for nurses during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone of us who has worn this uniform at one time, or another just felt like there’s something more that they can do to help and provide their services one more time,” Mione said.

Mione is, again, a practicing Family Nurse Practitioner who served 28 years in the Army as a nurse, eight years as a reservist and another 20 in active status, retiring in 2015.

“Feels like I’m home again. I love this uniform, it’s a different pattern, but it feels like I am home again,” Mione said about her return to service.

Mione has been placed on the hospital’s COVID-19 Response Team where they are “tracking, educating, collecting, and ordering tests.” As a nurse, Mione said she is responsible for testing, follow-up’s, for contacting and tracking quarantines.

“Mione’s skills as a provider have been invaluable helping with our COVID-19 response team at the hospital she is one of our key players to monitor the response and helping maintain the safety of our community,” Col. Nancy Parson, the MEDDAC Commander said.

Weed Army Community Hospital is conducting mandatory COVID-19 viral testing for service members (Active, Reserve, and National Guard) and their family members reporting to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. for change of duty station and rotational training.

Parson said that personnel change of status soldiers and family members are receiving testing for COVID-19 following the safety measures put out by the Center of Disease Control. However, Rotational Training Unit soldiers will receive their testing before they arrive to Fort Irwin. The hospital will be testing on hundred percent of our Fort Irwin Soldiers supporting the rotation.

Mione said soldiers with orders to PCS will first come to the hospital to get tested before they are to do anything else. The COVID-19 tests will be completed within an hour and the soldier or family member will receive a blue card that says they are cleared. There is currently 100 percent testing for all incoming family members who PCS.

“The COVID-19 response had been extremely effective,” Parson said. “We have a great team of collaboration between the hospital and all the units on post. There’s a direct line of communication between our chair of the response the Col. Louis Rivero, who is in direct contact with the commanders of the units for any positive cases or any preventative measures and contact tracing.”

If one member of a family tests positive, the whole family will be quarantined for two weeks for precautionary measures. Soldiers coming from overseas are still being quarantined for 14 days.

In addition to Mione, the hospital also has another recall Soldier who is a healthcare administrator who is working the NTC surgeon cell helping directly with the upcoming rotation.

“I really appreciate the additional assistance from everyone who has stepped up to do more than their normal duty day to help with everything that’s going on with the COVID-19 response,” Parson said.

For questions and concerns about COVID-19 please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 760-383-5304