News: Hospitalman's training put to use
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba— For one young Navy hospitalman, a tour in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo provided an opportunity to expand upon his job skills and cemented a career choice in the medical field.
Navy Seaman Bobby Stewart works as a psychiatric technician at the Behavioral Health Unit for the detention facilities. The assignment is his first as a psychiatric technician, a classification he recently earned after completing a 16-month course. Stewart provides psychiatric care to detainees, including counseling, anger management and crisis intervention. He also assists in providing regular medical care as a corpsman to the detainees.
"[Stewart is] very directed on his medical care and pays attention to detail," said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Murphy, the leading petty officer of the behavioral health unit.
An incident recently allowed Stewart to use the medical skills he learned in the Navy to provide treatment for an injured child.
Stewart was driving with a friend while home on leave in Tennessee last year when he saw a crowd of people on the side of the road with a bleeding child. The two stopped to provide assistance. Though no one spoke English, Stewart took charge of the scene, assessed the patient — who was a three-year-old boy — and began to provide first aid for his injuries.
He continued to treat the wounds and stabilized the spine until paramedics took over. The child, who had been involved in a hit and run by a drunk driver, received just minor injuries.
Stewart didn't think he had done anything special that day until his command here received a letter from the county emergency medical services recommending him for an award.
"I always thought that in an emergency situation, I would panic and not know what to do," said Stewart. "The next thing I knew, my instincts kicked in and I was able to put my training to work."
At his previous duty station, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Stewart credits the code blue drills and extra training they conducted while on overnight shifts with helping him feel more comfortable with his craft.
With almost two years in the Navy, Stewart is more than halfway through his deployment at Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Stewart plans to stay in the Navy and will begin earning credit toward a nursing degree at his next duty station in Okinawa. Eventually, he would like to put in a package for the Navy Nurse Corps.
For more information about Joint Task Force Guantanamo, visit the Web site www.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil.
Date Posted:04.27.2009 11:16
Location:GUANTANAMO BAY, CU
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