ROK flight nurses tour 51st MDG

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Nine students from the Republic of Korea Aeromedical Center Primary Flight Nurse Course visited the 51st Medical Group, July 11.

Led by the center's chief nurse, ROK air force Lt. Col. Ji Ah Jeong, the group learned about the similarities and differences in flight nurse training and responsibilities in the ROK and U.S. armed forces.

Similar tours are held several times a year and sometimes host other medical personnel, including flight surgeons.

Lt. Col. Delos Santos, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, explained the 51st MDG's personnel structure and medical capabilities before Capt. Anna Cho, 51st Medical Operations Squadron primary care nurse, discussed her experience as a former flight nurse.

"Flight nurses are responsible for administering in-flight care, dispensing medication, maintaining patient safety and ensuring the medical and flight crews are communicating with each other," Cho said. "An average aeromedical crew is five to seven people."

In addition to hearing what deployments are like for Air Force flight nurses, the students - who represented different branches of the ROK military - also exchanged information about training and career opportunities for ROK military flight nurses to further understanding between the two groups.

The visit also included a tour of the 51st MDG's decontamination area, emergency room and garden court where members of the group's staff were available to explain their specialty to the nurses and answer any questions.

ROKAF 1st Lt. Hyun Soo Kim, ROK Aeromedical Center Primary Flight Nurse Course student, said his favorite part of the tour was the ER.

"I was impressed by the emergency room system and that the nurses have standing orders allowing them to start treating their patients immediately, before a doctor has seen them," Kim said.

Kim said this was his first time working with the U.S. military, and that he appreciated the opportunity to learn their approach to patient care and hopes it will help the ROK flight nurses be more efficient and cost-effective.

"While we're in a cease fire, it's a perfect opportunity to learn how the U.S. does things, and the U.S. can also learn how we do things on our side," Kim said. "That way, we can have a better understanding of each other and work better together if there's a war."