When the Charlie Norwood VAMC wanted to open a new COVID-19 vaccine clinic, officers from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) were ready to help make it happen.
The three USPHS nurse practitioners had been serving in primary care and women’s health at the Augusta, Georgia, medical center before answering the call to set up the clinic. Drawing on their military training, they were able to open their doors within 48 hours.
Lt. Rob McMinn, MSN, CRNP, FNP-C, was put in charge of organizing the clinic, which he based on a combat support hospital. “The director and leadership team gave us the ability to design and configure the clinic how we thought was best,” he said.
“Our main goal is to reach as many Veterans as possible to provide this for them. The COVID-19 clinic has allowed us to draw our skills to execute an efficient clinic in handling a large flow of Veterans,” added Lt. Cassandra Mitchell MSN, RN, APRN, FNP-C, PCCN, CSN.
So far, the clinic has vaccinated more than 10,000 Veterans.
“It is a privilege and honor to work at the VA and to provide service for the Veterans that paved the way for us,” Lt. Mitchell said.
USPHS is made up of more than 6,000 medical, health and engineering professionals who care for patients, fight disease and conduct research in 800+ underserved communities, including at VA.
Our long relationship with the USPHS dates to the first World War. Today, USPHS physicians, psychologists, nurses and physician assistants work at select VA facilities across the nation.
This pipeline of experienced medical providers with extensive specialty knowledge helps us provide world-class health care to the nation’s Veterans.
“Public health service has trained us to strive to be leaders in our field. With this training, we will benefit VA in providing knowledge to execute evidence-based practice to our Veterans,” Lt. Mitchell said.
“Veterans seem excited when they see their provider in uniform and feel a different type of connection to us,” she added.
Able to take advantage of VA’s abundant services, training and support programs, and other resources, USPHS officers are primed to transition to a VA career after completing their service.
“Serving at VA will be one of the best experiences you can have. You will have support and resources that many could only dream of in a civilian practice,” Lt. McMinn said. “There is always a ‘one team, one fight’ mentality as we strive to provide care to the Veterans entrusted to us.”
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