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Compassionate care for pediatric patients

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Heather Ley
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The weather outside begins to pierce through the multitude of layers worn while the internal temperature of a tiny body continues to rise. Having a sick child could be any parents’ worst nightmare, let alone while living in a foreign country. A mother calls the clinic to make an appointment, worried about the process until she gets there and is greeted by an Airman who assures her that she is in good hands.

Senior Airman Nicholas Short, 31st Health Care Operations Squadron medical technician, provides trusted care to his patients with compassionate determination to keep Airmen and their families healthy and safe.

Originally from Saint Lois, Missouri, Short joined the U.S. Air Force in 2021 and saw joining as an opportunity to do something meaningful while continuing to take classes for his undergraduate degree.

“My job is important to ensuring the mission of the 31st Fighter Wing because many active duty members have family with them in Aviano,” said Short. “If they have a sick or injured family member, it could be difficult for them to give their all at work. We provide care to the whole base population to allow members to have the peace of mind they need to execute the mission.”

To be good at their job, medical technicians need critical thinking skills, clear and effective communication with patients and fellow team members, the ability to make safe and reliable medical decisions, the capability to create the best possible environment for their patients and the willingness to consistently learn and improve their skills.

Part of being a medic is making sure your team is ready, as well as yourself,” said Short. “I have trained 10 other medics over pediatric procedures, documentation and patient care. Additionally, I had each shadow me, ask questions and eventually begin to care for patients independently.”

Some day-to-day tasks for medical technicians include obtaining patient history, patient administration, patient care, equipment inspections and performing and/or assisting in procedures.

“Senior Airman Short proves to be a valuable asset to the flight, making collaboration a pleasure, said Master Sgt. Guillermo Hernandez, 31st Health Care Operations Squadron primary care flight chief. “His unwavering positivity and infectious personality uplift those around him, contributing to a positive work environment.”

Although his rank doesn’t have as much authority as others do, it doesn’t stop Short from challenging the status quo.

“It’s frustrating to hear ‘this is how we do it here’ or ‘this is the way we have always done it,’ said Short. “It’s important to me to find the most effective ways to provide care to our patients. I am always looking and encouraging others to find ways we can improve.”