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    Naval Hospital Rota’s Celebrates its Multiservice Ward Merger

    Crosstraining supports Multiservice Ward Merger

    Photo By Cmdr. Jenny Paul | ROTA, Spain (Mar 1, 2024) Lieutenant Christina Acosta, a Labor and Delivery nurse on...... read more read more



    Story by Cmdr. Jenny Paul 

    U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

    ROTA, Spain—At Naval Hospital Rota, staff within the Directorate of Nursing Services recently recognized the one-year anniversary of the merger of its Maternal Child Infant (MCI) and Multi-Service Ward (MSW) inpatient units. In 2023, the facility initiated a multiphase medical gas upgrade project requiring the movement of clinical services to accommodate extended construction efforts. During this period, the MCI unit joined the MSW spaces, and a joint unit was born.
    Prior to this merger, the MCI, which cared for laboring mothers and infants, was located in a separate section of the facility from the medical-surgical-centric MSW. This separation presented some unique challenges for a small community hospital like Rota, including physical barriers that limited communication and minimized exposure for nurses and corpsmen to the different patient populations and clinical skill sets cared for on these units.
    Combining these specialties allowed the nursing directorate to maintain its inpatient services during the construction period and removed many of the isolation related difficulties the previously segregated units experienced. Once the heavy lifting of transitioning all the supplies, equipment, and personnel from the MCI to MSW was complete, the joint unit then focused on the second phase of the integration - training. This competency development phase focused on cross training the Hospital Corpsmen (HM) to the unique skill sets required to provide world-class care to patients from across the lifespan.
    Commander Sara Edmondson, the commands Labor and Delivery Clinical Nurse Specialist, and one of the units corpsmen, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alyssa Verhonich, utilized this opportunity to support a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process improvement project to ensure all of the existing and new corpsmen and nursing staff were appropriately cross-trained, “Cross-training was the first step to start building a unified MSW team,” she reported. “When the project concluded, it enhanced our flexibility and fostered a deeper understanding of what the corpsman responsibilities entailed on a MSW floor. We improved our teamwork by enabling staff to support each other across both specialties.”
    This specialized care required significantly more training and hands on experiences than did the medical-surgical skills the HM were trained to perform. After completing the 12-week orientation for labor and delivery, the newly oriented HM then switched gears to focus on the medical-surgical aspects of patient care. This orientation generally required an additional two weeks to complete.
    Once the Corpsmen team was cross-trained, attention was shifted to providing the same opportunity for the nursing staff. Initially, labor and delivery nurses learned the processes for the ambulatory procedure unit and the intricacies of caring for a behavioral health patient and had basic nursing skills reinforced with medical and surgical patients. In turn, the medical-surgical nurses were introduced to fetal monitoring, neonatal resuscitation, and postpartum couplet care. Their postpartum skills were reinforced by the expectation that they care for all mother-baby patients for a period of 30 days and gain ongoing training for medical, surgical, and obstetrical emergencies. Sixteen nurses so far have completed cross-training requirements.
    Though the initial blending of these two specialty wards was out of necessity, the merger ultimately resulted in a more inclusive and streamlined care space, allowing for a more skill-diverse team and easy collaboration between two critical hospital services.
    MSW Department Head, Lieutenant Commander Betsy Albers, acknowledged the effort it takes to build a cohesive team, “we’ve had some tough conversations and didn’t always see eye to eye, but for me the greatest lesson learned was the need to be flexible.”
    The final phase of the joint unit integration involves the creation of a new chain of command. Prior to the merger, each unit had a LPO and department head (DH) who reported to the senior enlisted leader and director. With attrition, the new chain of command will include one LPO and one DH. This summer, this last phase will come to fruition as the LPO’s leave for school and the DH’s leave for new duty assignments.
    Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Joshua Gomez, one of the outgoing LPO’s stated, “as the floor merged from two departments to one, those of us in leadership knew it was time to do the same. The turnover conducted helped ensure the vision of a unified directorate would be successfully achieved with the new chain of command. Watching the vision become reality shows just how strong our staff is, and we couldn’t be prouder of them.”
    NMRTC Rota serves as a force multiplier in Navy Medicine’s strategic global medical support mission throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East while also supporting operational readiness and maintaining a strategic repository of expertise at the Naval Hospital Rota MTF within the Iberian Peninsula.
    Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.



    Date Taken: 03.13.2024
    Date Posted: 04.14.2024 13:58
    Story ID: 468510
    Location: ROTA, ES

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