NorthBay Puts the Spotlight on its Veterans
With Travis Air Force Base and David Grant Medical Center right in the neighborhood, it’s no surprise that veterans, reservists and active duty military make up a considerable part of NorthBay Healthcare’s work force.
They cover all branches of the military and range from physicians and nurses to technicians and engineers, inspiring NorthBay to put the spotlight on their contributions in a special Veterans Day video, as well as a series of short video clips with veterans sharing their stories on social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn.
A compilation video will debut on NorthBay.org and on NorthBay social media platforms on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) and NorthBay will deliver a special Veterans Day gift bag to veteran staff.
Wayne Gietz, president of NorthBay Healthcare Group, offered his gratitude for the 125-plus staff and physicians who bring their military experience and leadership to work every day, providing great care for NorthBay patients.
“We are thankful for their many sacrifices, bravery and for the example they set for all of us. NorthBay Healthcare is proud to have them on our team.”
Leading up to the holiday, a series of shorter video vignettes is being featured on NorthBay’s Facebook and LinkedIn sites.
While their experiences were in different branches of the military, there are certain themes that emerge in the vignettes: Leadership training, medical training, mission-focused teamwork, caring, communicating and collaborating with all types of people. And each of the featured staff and doctors agree that their military experience is what made them the person they are today.
“What the military did for me (and probably a lot of physicians) is they give you a lot of leadership responsibilities early in your career,” said pediatrician Bruce Hewett, M.D. “So that puts you in a position to learn leadership qualities and all of those leadership qualities transition to the civilian sector and really help you in all areas.”
Of course there was also plenty of medical training.
“Being a Navy corpsman especially with Marines (basically as a combat medic) really prepared me for traumas in the emergency department especially … simple things to stop bleeding,” said Ken Wright, emergency room tech. “You stop the bleeding, you save a life.”
Emergency room physician Bridget Nester-Arjun, M.D., agreed.
“It prepared me to be the doctor I am today,” she said. “One thing that stands out, was having the privilege of being the critical care air transport doc … going to austere environments and caring for our wounded and bringing them back to Germany safely.”
“My career in the military helped me get my start as a general physician,” said surgeon William Fulton, D.O. “I learned a lot of the basics of trauma … how to transfuse blood, how to pack the abdomen in a certain way and how to take care of critically ill patients that we didn’t learn until we really went through all the wars we had to experience — unfortunately — from 2000 to 2010.”
Learning to focus on mission and work as a team was also vital, said many of the NorthBay veterans.
“The Army gave me the strength of mind to set goals high and the opportunity to work among a diverse group of soldiers and to collaborate with them and get the mission done whatever that may be,” said Francisco Cortes Jr., Emergency Room Tech.
Neurosurgeon Patrick Maloney, M.D., couldn’t agree more.
“My service in the Air Force helped me become a better neurosurgeon by enhancing the ability to work as a team. It is the ultimate team sport, being in the military,” he said. Focusing on the mission in a challenging environment “made me a more flexible and understanding surgeon,” he added.
That makes perfect sense to Joann Abrams, administrative coordinator.
“When you go to college, you get a more universal experience but in the military you learn a different idea about teamwork,” she explained. “It became ‘us’ and that ‘we’ have a mission. We have been prepared to get out of selfishness … in the military we learn to serve the community and that it’s not just about what I want but it’s about the greater good and that has been very important to me in my career at NorthBay.”
For Suliana Baptista, R.N., the military experience has paid off in helping her learn how to relate to all people, regardless of their background or experiences.
“I was very sheltered and the military introduced me to being around a lot of people from different cultures and walks of life and how to interact with them,” she said. “I was very shy before that and it brought me out of my shell. So I am able to talk with people of all walks of life, even to this day.”
That exposure to a diverse group of people is also cited by oncologist/hematologist Jessica Powers, M.D.
“It taught me a lot about resiliency and how to get along with all different types of people from all different parts of the world, so it prepared me well to transition into this community,” she said.