Ramstein AB celebrates Nurse and Tech Week

  • Published
  • By 86th Medical Group
  • 86th Medical Group
Ramstein Air Base kicked off the annual week-long Nurse and Tech Week on May 8, 2023, which allowed for greater opportunities to promote understanding for and appreciation of the huge impact and contributions of our medics.

During Nurse and Tech Week, Ramstein AB hosted five days of appreciation groups for nurses and technicians in the Kaiserslautern Military Community and their commitment to their patients and medical readiness. The theme this year is "nurses make a difference: anytime, anywhere – always." These members provide world-class medical care to all our beneficiaries anytime, anywhere, and always as a top priority.

Nurses and technicians serve in many capacities and come from all backgrounds and ranks to maintain health and readiness and ensure members are medically ready to deploy. In addition to their clinical skills, they serve in multiple types of settings.

"Our nurses and 4Ns are at the epicenter of healthcare,” said Col. Richard McClure, 86th Medical Group commander. “Our physicians are like the pilots and without them there is no mission. However, our nurses and 4Ns are the maintainers, navigators, administrators, and everything in between. They make sure the mission is completed."

Nurse and Tech Week has its roots in 1974 when the International Council of Nurses established May 12 as International Nurses Day, Florence Nightingale's birthday. The celebration was extended to seven days and May 6-12 was officially declared National Nurses' Week.

Nightingale was a trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected 19th- and 20th-century policies around proper care. She was known for her nightly rounds to aid the wounded, establishing her image as the “Lady with the Lamp." During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, greatly reducing the death count.

"Often when we hear of read about war, we think and hear about the men and women who risk their lives for our country,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Melder, 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron chief nurse. “However rarely do we hear about the many nurses, medical and surgical technicians who also put themselves in harm’s way risking their lives to save others.”

He said brave medical professionals have been laying down their lives in support of the wounded and our nation since our fight for independence. This week, in remembrance of Nightingale’s birth, we celebrate the contributions and sacrifices that nurses, medical and surgical technicians have made for the betterment of our military and our country.

“I would like to say thank you to each one of them,” Melder said. “I would also like to say that I am proud and humbled to be a part of this time-honored profession. Thank you!"

When asked what nursing and this week mean to her, Capt. Autumn Wharmby, 86th MDG registered nurse, said nursing isn't something a person does, but rather who you are.

“We are the support for the best and worst days of your life, and everything in between,” she said. “We laugh and cry with our patients, we hold their hands during the darkest times, and we advocate for them when they can't advocate for themselves. Nursing is the unconditional care for a stranger.”

As military nurses and technicians, there is an added responsibility to ensure medical readiness of all team members, which includes both technical skill training and home lives so medical personnel can focus on the mission. They are the heart of healthcare and readiness.