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US, Angolan nurses partner for military medical exercise, form bonds

LUANDA, Angola– A U.S. Army medical team assigned to the 357th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment, traveled to Luanda, Angola, to partner with medical professionals from the Angolan Armed Forces for MEDREX Angola 23-1.

MEDREX, or medical readiness exercise, allows the military teams to exchange medical techniques and procedures that build and strengthen treatment capabilities resulting in a ready medical force and strengthens relationships between the partners.

Capt. Claudia McDermott, 357th FRSD commander, is an emergency room registered nurse and part of the team of 12 U.S. Army medical representatives at MEDREX Angola 23-1. She is working with her Angolan counterparts in the emergency room at the Hospital Militar Principal in Luanda to treat patients needing medical care.

MEDREX 23-1 Emergency Room

“The Angolans have been incredibly wonderful in terms of bringing us in and making us feel welcome, that we’re starting to fit in,” stated McDermott. “This is a great experience. We’re coming together with the Angolan medical teams and we’re collaborating…quite honestly, they’re teaching us and we’re learning a lot from them in terms of how they do their jobs with very little equipment.”

McDermott’s duties include facilitating and monitoring the work flow in the emergency room. Her guidance and knowledge have been well received by the Angolan staff as they strive to improve treatment capabilities that will help their patients.

“My experience with the American nurses has been good, especially with nurse Claudia [McDermott] who is able to share her expertise with us,” said Filomena Ernesto, a Hospital Militar Central intensive care specialty nurse. “We are thankful to be able to exchange our knowledge. We both live in completely different worlds, but with nurse Claudia, we are able to exchange how we each perform our practices and see things that we have never seen before.”

MedRex 23-1 Emergency Room

McDermott demonstrated several pieces of medical equipment that can enhance the capabilities of the emergency room.

“I brought some gloves, a couple of supplies, and medications that I showed them,” McDermott said. “They were very excited as I was showing them how to use one of the needles that have a safety cap. I was doing a little teaching session and they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s very cool’. So, they’re happy and appreciative to take on that equipment. That’s the excitement, to bring something to the table and they take it very well and willingly.”

MEDREX is part of a broader series of military-to-military activities planned and executed by the U.S Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, that demonstrates the strong partnership between the U.S. and their African partners. McDermott hopes her interaction with her Angolan counterparts will form a lasting bond and leave a footprint for future missions as critical as this MEDREX.

“My expectations at this point are just making those friendships, those connections,” McDermott said. “I’m hoping that the Angolan people will understand that we Americans are willing to come in and work together hand in hand and collaborate and learn from each other. This collaboration is one of the best ways to bond with another country and it’s like we can speak the same language.”

Source : US Army