FORT POLK, Louisiana – The Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Pathology Department hosted Connecticut National Guard Sgt. Andrew Meeker for two weeks of hands-on training during his unit’s rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk this month. Meeker’s unit, the 142nd Medical Company (Area Support), is at Fort Polk to manage the rear of the JRTC Aid Station and provide medical care to the Arkansas National Guard.
Meeker enlisted in the Guard in 2016 as a combat medic, but was given the opportunity to retrain as a 68K lab technician, in 2020. Meeker said as a member of the National Guard , it is not uncommon for soldiers to have several military professional specialties as needed. of unity, state and army.
Meeker aspires to become a laboratory technician in his civilian career. He hopes the additional training received at BJACH will help him prepare for the American Society of Certified Pathologists exam.
âI joined the military for educational opportunities and to serve my country,â he said. âI started out as a combat medic because I was an emergency medical technician and have always loved first aid, medicine and patient care. This passion evolved into an interest in supporting diagnostic care. I wanted to do more on the investigative side by supporting a doctor’s diagnosis and learning more about the molecular level of things.
Meeker arrived at Fort Sam Houston in January 2020 for his 52-week 68K training where he also completed the clinical practice portion at Brooke Army Medical Center.
âLearning in a lab in the midst of a global pandemic has been incredibly valuable to me,â he said. âAs an intern at BAMC I started in the microbiology section and one of the first things I learned was the COVID polymerase chain reaction test on the BioFire and other machines. During my two weeks at BJACH, I took part in several dozen tests.
Meeker said his commanding officer, Major Amanda Griffiths, and the JRTC liaison officer and Fort Polk Command surgeon Major Carmen Salcedo coordinated this additional training at the BJACH lab.
Salcedo said when the 142nd MCAS commander asked if Meeker could get additional training in the lab, she was happy to help.
âThe JASR team for this rotation contacted me regarding the Master Sgt. Meeker and asked if he could work in the lab, âshe said. âThe Head of Pathology at BJACH was more than accommodating and Staff Sgt. Heather Adkins, our 68K student coordinator, made sure he was able to work on all of his basic skills.
Salcedo said the 142 MCAS is a small, two-roller clinic and has a full complement of medical staff. She said putting Meeker through the lab for two weeks was a unique situation, but she’s always ready to support the National Guard and reserve soldiers who are due to complete their two-week training each summer if she can.
Meeker said the BJACH team had helped him improve his confidence and skills.
âThe staff at the BJACH laboratory have been very welcoming,â he said. âI really like hematology, so being able to see the ins and outs of a variety of tests has been interesting. Getting to know all the different departments and getting an overview of operations was a rewarding experience. “
Melissa Hagen, BJACH Blood Bank Supervisor, said Meeker was mutually beneficial for the lab as they could see how someone else was doing things similar or different from the BJACH team.
âStaff sergeant. Meeker did a great job while he was with us, âshe said. âHe is very motivated and eager to learn. We will miss having him around.
|Date posted:||07/20/2021 4:43 PM|
|Location:||FORT POLK, LA, UNITED STATES|
|Hometown:||DANBURY, Connecticut, United States|
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