377th Medical Group honors nurses, technicians

Col. Jeffery White, 377th Medical Group commander, signs a proclamation for National Nurses and Medical Technicians Week at a ceremony at the Health Clinic May 8. The ceremony honored the group's nurses and technicians for their contributions to world-class healthcare.

Col. Jeffery White, 377th Medical Group commander, signs a proclamation for National Nurses and Medical Technicians Week at a ceremony at the Health Clinic May 8. The ceremony honored the group's nurses and technicians for their contributions to world-class healthcare.

Some of the 377th Medical Group's nurses and technicians pose for a photo following a proclamation signing for National Nurses and Medical Technicians Week. The week honors nurses and technicians for their contributions to world-class healthcare.

Some of the 377th Medical Group's nurses and technicians pose for a photo following a proclamation signing for National Nurses and Medical Technicians Week. The week honors nurses and technicians for their contributions to world-class healthcare.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The 377th Medical Group hosted a proclamation ceremony at the clinic May 8, kicking off National Nurses & Technicians Week. 

The proclamation was signed by Col. Jeffery White, 377th MDG commander. The group then honored nurses and technicians with a small gathering that included cake. A poster board displayed information about the nurses and techs.

“Air Force nurses and technicians touch the lives of our family members and friends, giving first class, compassionate and quality care,” said Lt. Col. Michelle Schnakenberg, 377th MDG chief nurse. “We at Kirtland Air Force Base have a distinctly higher calling to ensure those individuals, families and retirees who defend our freedoms receive world-class healthcare always and anywhere around the world.”

Others echoed the sentiment that nurses and technicians were crucial to the success of the medical group.

“We have a patient population of about 12,000, and we only have 54 nurses and techs,” said Maj. Michelle Pierson, 377th MDG healthcare integrator. “All of our nurses and techs are important, especially to our active-duty Airmen because we need to keep them healthy to get the mission done. In 2016, this medical group saw over 62,000 visits. Those nurses and techs had a large part in all of those visits.”

Many of the nurses and technicians in the 377th MDG are in the family health clinic, but others are in the flight medicine clinic or reliability programs. The nurses and techs assist the primary healthcare managers with patients as they come through for appointments. 

Without nurses and technicians, the medical group would suffer greatly, Pierson said.  

“It’s a hard job,” Pierson said. “Sometimes thankless, but it’s nice to be appreciated by others for what we do. You got to be a very giving person to do this job.” 

The week started when President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation in February 1974. Since then, the week runs the week of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, from May 6 to May 12.