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Nearly 300 people attended a three-day nursing fair at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), Feb. 5-7, organized to enhance skills and knowledge of providers and beneficiaries.

Patients and visitors also stopped in to learn something new at the event, which was designed to provide nurses, Navy Corpsmen and Army medics with refresher training, as well as complete annual core competencies.

“We’re helping to enhance what people already know,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sheron Campbell, a clinical nurse specialist for the three inpatient surgical units at WRNMMC. Campbell helped organize the event.

Cmdr. Carla Pappalardo, a clinical nurse specialist for critical care at Walter Reed Bethesda, coordinated the nursing skills fair. She explained it was important to hold the event, not only to meet annual requirements, but also “to showcase all the wonderful things we are doing at the command.”

Nursing staff were provided an opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills in more than 15 areas including wound care, adult pain management, cardiac medications, intravenous (IV) therapy and infection prevention at the nursing skills fair.

Army Capt. Tanya Bolden, assistant service chief for the inpatient medicine unit, said the information provided was good for everybody, not just for nurses. “We actually had a lot of [patient] family members come through,” Pappalardo explained.

Ensign Maria Tejada, a registered nurse on 5-West, the hematology and oncology ward, attended the nursing skills fair on Feb. 5. “It’s very informative,” said Tejada, who has served as a Navy nurse for less than a year. “I’m learning techniques and skills from each booth, and I really like it.”

Papparlardo said key skill areas covered by the fair included administration of blood products, IV catheters, and peripherally inserted central catheters, also known as PICC lines. Event participants also learned about new traumatic brain injury technology, as well as breast feeding.

“I thought the turn-out was fabulous and provided an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on our nurses at Walter Reed, while also providing necessary training and education on products and processes here at our facility,” Papparlardo added. “We were provided excellent feedback for future skill fairs and will establish a committee for future planning of such evolutions.”