Back to Top Skip to main content

Air Force medical recruiting up while recruiters, applicants serve their communities

Four  military nurses wearing masks Nurses at The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, wear their masks made and donated by Fight for Aloha, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. The delivery was coordinated by TSgt Aaron Shields and one of his nurse applicants. (Courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

FALLS CHURCH, Va.—The COVID-19 global pandemic has thrown obstacles into everyone’s path, but Air Force Health Professions recruiters and their applicants are overcoming these challenges and motivating their colleagues and communities to step up to help others.

"Being an Air Force medic is more than a job, occupation or career, it is a higher calling," said Chief Master Sgt. G. Steve Cum, Chief, Medical Enlisted Force. "With that comes a responsibility to be your best when your patient is at their worst, to understand your role for the greater good of the mission, and to ensure your fellow medical teammates are as prepared as you, because one day, they may be the ones saving you."

The pandemic is increasing unemployment rates, driving many people to seek career paths in health sciences and military medicine.

“They look at us as job security and a way to give back,” stated Tech. Sgt. Ralph Hall Gonzalez, Health Professions recruiter, 318th Recruiting Squadron. “I've received about three times more applications than I did last year at this time.”

Many applicants are rising to the call for helping those in need. One such applicant, a psychiatry resident at a New York City hospital, had discussed the options of joining the Air Force prior to the pandemic.

“As soon as COVID-19 hit, the applicant has been focused on maintaining mental health for his patients,” Hall Gonzalez stated. “The applicant said he found the passion in his job and now wants to do the same thing while wearing a uniform.”

Tech. Sgt. BreAnn Hill, Health Professions recruiter, 348th Recruiting Squadron, has been working with several highly-qualified potential applicants since COVID-19.

“People are so excited to join the Air Force. They are motivated to serve, and protect those who are protecting us,” Hill said. “One of my nursing applicants planned to drive across country to help out in New York City hospitals during the height of the crisis. They really have a drive of service before self and caring for others.”

Hill tells her nurses they are “super heroes without the cape."

Three men in scrubs wearing masks
Health care workers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, wearing scrubs that were donated two weeks ago by recruiters from Air Force Recruiting Service. The donation of these Air Force Health Professions scrubs was led by Staff Sgt. Brandon McKeever, 342nd Recruiting Squadron, B-Flight. (Courtesy photo)

Tech. Sgt. Aaron Shields, a Health Professions recruiter with the 348th Recruiting Squadron, found one of his applicants already giving back. Personal protective equipment has been at a premium during the pandemic. The applicant worked with Fight for Aloha, a volunteer organization, to fabricate and deliver PPE to Queens Hospital in Honolulu where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

“COVID-19 PPE requirements are higher and must meet certain regulations,” Shields said. “We had to make sure they could actually use what we brought, and we also found some other places where they could use other forms of PPE. That is just the type of person we want to join Air Force Medicine.”

One applicant told Staff Sgt. Brandon McKeever, a Health Professional recruiter with the 342nd Recruiting Squadron, that their medical facility was running out of scrubs. Medical recruiters have Air Force-branded promotional full scrubs sets. McKeever coordinated with Vanderbilt Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee, and delivered 600 sets. Other recruiters are making similar donations helping the front line medical providers.

To ensure qualified medical profession candidates continue to join the Air Force, recruiters need to get creative during the pandemic. Many hospitals are not allowing guests, meaning recruiters are using other methods to connect with potential recruits.

“Everything has to be remote so we have to engage through Zoom and FaceTime which is more difficult than if you go out and see candidates face-to-face,” Hall Gonzalez said.

The pandemic makes the very process of joining the Air Force more challenging.

“The challenge is trying to get them through the whole recruiting process,” said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Shields, 348th Recruiting Squadron Health Professions recruiter. “The military treatment facilities where our applicants get medically qualified aren’t screening anyone except mission-critical personnel. We reached out to the Navy in Okinawa, and, fortunately, a Navy clinic on Okinawa allowed some of our applicants to screen there.”

Recruiters and their applicants demonstrate their ability to overcome the barriers presented by the national health emergency.

“Our overall mission has not changed,” said Senior Master Sgt. Aaron Akridge, production superintendent of the 318th Recruiting Squadron. “We are always trying to inspire, engage and recruit the highest qualified medical officers. Recruiters have done a phenomenal job because they're resilient and they're going to find a way to get the mission done.”

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of recruiting qualified medical candidates for the Air Force.

"We need the best of the best, the best doctors, the best nurses, and the best medical professionals our nation has to offer," said Cum. "Are you ready to and able to answer the call?"

You also may be interested in...

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Article
9/8/2020
Man looking at X-Ray

The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data.

Recommended Content:

Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability | MHS GENESIS | Joint Health Information Exchange | Coronavirus

USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Article
9/4/2020
Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel.

A Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University (USU) and hosted by the Joint Trauma System (JTS) offers physicans best practices and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA Director visits Naval Hospital Pensacola

Article
9/4/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place saluting to soldiers

During his visit, Place showed his appreciation to those that have been committed to excellence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Washington state’s COVID director visits Army Medical Center

Article
9/3/2020
Admiral Bono wearing a mask speaking to a soldier

Bono took note of Madigan’s flexibility in its COVID response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD closing in on COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection goal

Article
9/2/2020
Technician wearing a mask, looking at different blood products

How to help DoD beneficiaries fighting COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

USAF doctor strives to advance women leaders in military medicine

Article
9/1/2020
Photo of Dr. Yun

While the military has come a long way regarding females in the higher ranks, Yun sees more progress to come.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 17

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.