PRAP clinic; taking care of business

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Magen M. Reeves
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
The 341st Medical Operations Squadron personnel reliability assurance program clinic, which handles medical care for Airmen required to comply with the personnel reliability program, has recently undergone changes to better provide the critical care field-deployable Airmen need.

The mission of the PRAP clinic is to ensure nuclear field Airmen are medically and personally cared for as much as possible.

According to Maj. Janet Blanchard, 341st MDOS flight medicine commander, it was Maj. Melinda Boyd, 341st MDOS PRAP physician, who realized there was a potential problem in PRAP.

“Major Boyd realized we were going to have several Airmen (permanently changing station) during a critical time for our clinic,” said Blanchard.

The mentioned critical time is the upcoming Nuclear Surety Inspection. The concern was that there could not be enough manpower to be able to accommodate the potential patients.

“The PRAP clinic (along with the flight missile medicine clinic) is responsible for ensuring security forces members, missileers and (aircrew) stay current with the medical care required to perform the nuclear mission (and is an inspected area during the NSI,)” said Blanchard.

“It is important that we are able to take care of the patients we are responsible for who uphold the mission in the field because the nuclear deterrence mission belongs to all of us,” she continued.

According to Lt. Col. Courtney Finkbeiner, 341st MDOS commander, squadron leadership decided to combat the potential problem before it came to be.

“We strategically moved several Airmen to cover the gap in personnel,” said Finkbeiner. “The Airmen we chose are some of the group’s best, and we knew these individuals would be able to accomplish what we asked them to do.”

According to Finkbeiner, the Airmen were moved into PRAP during what can be a stressful time. All defenders, missileers and aircrew’s medical status is an area that will be inspected during the NSI, which essentially dictates whether or not a nuclear base is mission capable.

However, the Airmen have integrated into their new positions quickly and efficiently, causing no disruption in daily operations.

Senior Airman Nathaniel Morris, 341st MDOS PRAP technician, is one of the individuals who moved into the section.

“I had prior experience working in this clinic,” said Morris. “I started in the PRAP clinic, moved to pediatrics, and then moved back to help alleviate the needs of the clinic.”

PRAP technicians are enlisted Airmen who assist officer providers with patient’s medical needs. The technicians measure and record vitals and conduct a general health questionnaire upon a patient’s arrival.

Technicians are also trained on multiple medical procedures, including administering acupuncture treatments once certified.

“Acupuncture is a treatment we started offering at the beginning of 2016, and it has become increasingly popular in our clinic,” said Staff Sgt. Dominic Iannapollo, 341st MDOS PRAP technician. “It isn’t a medication, which means there is a significantly decreased risk that our PRAP members will experience any of the negative side effects that might be present with prescription drugs. This ensures the PRAP member can continue to perform their mission-critical duties.”

While the clinic only treats the military member, an Airman’s personal life, such as a sick family member, a pregnant Airman or spouse can also affect PRP.

“We do everything we can do help them,” said Senior Airman Jeslyn Raetz, 341st MDOS technician. “In addition to administering treatment to the military member we are also responsible for keeping their medical files and paperwork up to date. PRP is critical to the mission and if we don’t fill out a patient’s paperwork correctly it could potentially bring them down off PRP, which means they would be unable to do their job.”

According to Raetz, several man hours a day must be dedicated to quality assuring the paperwork of all patients seen that day. All areas must be filled out properly, all notes must be annotated in a specific format and all patients’ medical records are monitored.

“It’s our job to monitor their past medical history to make sure that our current treatments are the right ones,” said Senior Airman Casey Blakeley, 341st MDOS technician.

Maintaining the integrity of a patient’s treatment is important, but properly maintaining their medical paperwork is also critical because having 100 percent accountability and accuracy is an inspected item under the NSI.

“The nuclear mission is our mission,” said Finkbeiner. “With nuclear surety, we had to make sure we have the right people in the right places to make that happen.”

The PRAP clinic, along with the help of flight missile medicine, has such a huge responsibility to the nuclear enterprise. It can be hard to believe that approximately 11 Airmen bear such a task every single day.

“I love my job,” said Morris. “Not only am I working in medicine; I’m also helping someone be successful in their career. If we don’t do our job right they can’t do their job right.”