Thanks to a partnership between the V.I. National Guard and the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, medically trained VING members can now serve their weekend duty at the medical center.
On Thursday, representatives from VING and the St. Croix hospital announced the collaboration, expected to benefit both organizations and patients, at the hospital’s Bennie and Martha Benjamin Foundation Conference Center.
According to Justa Encarnacion, JFL chief nursing officer and acting chief executive officer, 15 National Guard personnel will support clinical staff in several areas of the hospital one weekend a month.
There may be as many as seven uniformed VING members working in the emergency room and others in medical supply, medical records, bio med and medical surgery departments.
Encarnacion said the staff is appreciative of the extra help and she thinks hospital workers will learn about military life, procedures and discipline, she added.
“This partnership is important to our community,” as well as the Guard and the hospital, she said.
The new weekend staff has been trained and certified in their areas of expertise and received additional training at JFL. They will also be oriented in the units where they work.
Due to shortages in personnel and funding, the hospital had to be creative, according to Pamela Sanes, director of recruitment for the hospital.
VING Adj. Gen. Reynaldo Rivera said he is proud the Guard can support the hospital and that his “soldiers are trained to do what medics are supposed to do.” The partnership will allow Guard staff to build relationships with hospital staff and to improve their skills while fulfilling their military commitment, he said.
Medical detachment unit director Capt. Lorina Nestor said, “Not only will it provide a community service but it will also maintain the soldiers’ competence.”