OAHHS Hospital Voice Fall/Winter 2021-22

18 » A magazine for and about Oregon Community Hospitals. said Sipin of PeaceHealth, where up to 70 Guard members joined the staff. “When I talk to my team about what’s the biggest impact—aside from, of course, the help with logistics and stuff like that— what’s been the biggest impact of the National Guard, I can tell you, it’s just that morale boost. The way they just came in and were willing to do anything to help out with a smile on their face.” Guard members could feel the smiles in return. “The reception from the nursing staff here at the hospital has been fantastic,” said Sgt. 1st Class Peter Powers, part of a Brigade Engineer Battalion, another sub-unit of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center, where up to 45 Guard members have been serving. “They’re happy to have us,” said Powers, 53, of Vernonia. “They’re happy to have the help. The patients we’ve dealt with are also happy to see us— though we’re harder to identify without the uniforms on,” he added, smiling, in recognition of how, in some settings, Guard members traded their camo for scrubs, but wore ID cards showing their Guard affiliation. But there was no mistaking a 23-year-old Guard member like Spc. Dominic Deitrick, in uniform, also of the 41st IBCT, as he washed pots, pans, and dishes amid the stainless-steel fixtures in Nutrition Services at Providence Medford Medical Center—a very long distance, and a very different duty, from his previous station with a scout and sniper section of the headquarters unit of the 1-186 Infantry Battalion that had recently returned from Djibouti, in East Africa. Now, he was just down the road from his home in Eagle Point and said, “It is an honor to serve my community.” “The staff here at Providence has been more than welcome to all of us soldiers, and we thank them for their help,” said Deitrick, one of the 65 Guard members working at Providence Medford at the surge’s peak. That help often came in the form of what might be called crash courses in non-clinical hospital operations—how to clean rooms, how to move patients, how to check patients in, how to keep track of supplies in stock rooms, how to pick up and deliver medications from pharmacies, and how to deliver meals. “We were very strategic in terms of where we wanted to deploy the National Guard. It really had to be plug and play,” said PeaceHealth’s Sipin, because there was scant time for training. But procedures for jobs like room cleaning could be taught quickly, and staff— especially nurses—who had been picking up a variety of essential, if sometimes unglamorous, slack, could then get back to focusing on their jobs. One unanticipated consequence of the Guard’s hospital deployment has been the opportunity for some Guard members—whose average age is about 28, and whose civilian jobs are many and varied—to do work that opened their eyes to career paths they might like to follow, said Maj. Chris Clyne, an Oregon National Guard public affairs officer whose focus has been the hospital mission. “I’ve heard quite a few stories of a lot of people deciding to go into health care professions after this experience,” Clyne said. “A lot of them got to work with people who had been doing the job for a while, and got to see the work conditions, and the hours, and they were very agreeable to them.” Specialist Dominic Deitrick washed dishes at Providence Medford Medical Center, a very different duty from his previous station with a scout and sniper section in East Africa. Now, he was just down the road from his home in Eagle Point and said, “It is an honor to serve my community.”