Military Nursing Exchange provides unique opportunity

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Two hundred and eighty military nursing professionals from throughout the Asia-Pacific region gathered for the eighth annual Asia-Pacific Military Nursing Exchange Sept. 1 to Sept. 5, 2014, at the Republic of Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy, Daejeon, ROK.

The APMNE is a multilateral international military nursing engagement. It provides a unique opportunity for U.S. military nursing leaders to engage with senior military nursing colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region on issues of mutual interest, exchange knowledge and expertise, promote excellence in nursing practices, enhance professional relationships and foster healthcare interoperability between the nations.

"It's critical for Air Force nurses in Korea to be able to interact with our Korean military medical counterparts," said Lt. Col. Richard Wallen, 51st Medical Operations Squadron commander. "Having a better understanding of how their nurses are trained and how they view readiness better prepares us to work collectively as a coalition if any contingency should arise."

This multilateral exchange establishes an environment where Asia-Pacific regional nursing leaders are able to develop and mature in order to build a regional network of shared expertise.

The objectives include building, maintaining and maturing military nursing partnerships; enhancing nursing capability and capacity through sharing techniques, tactics and procedures and enlisted nursing personnel development.

"It's important for military members to come together to discuss our different ways of operating," said. Brig. Gen. Kyung-Hye Choi, Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy superintendent. "This benefits us as we work together during international disasters."

The APMNE focused on topics such as medical and clinical research, management of trauma and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives, force health management, disaster management, enlisted force development and military health care delivery systems.

"There are many challenges and opportunities that we face as a nursing community," said Maj. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Headquarters U.S. Air Force assistant Air Force surgeon general, medical force development, and chief of the nurse corps, office of the surgeon general. "This conference brings us together as a nursing profession so that we can learn from each other and advance the profession of nursing thereby improving the health of not only our military personnel, but our countries entire population."

Countries with representatives who attended the exchange are Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinnea, Peoples Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and United States.