One stop medical shop
By Senior Airman Hailey Haux, USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
/ Published August 29, 2014
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria -- An independent duty medical technician is exactly that, they are the nurses and technicians that go out on temporary duty or deployments to take care of Airmen and ensure they are healthy and mission capable.
"We are one of the Air Force medical service's greatest tools," said Staff Sgt. Tamara Cummings, 493rd Fighter Squadron IDMT. "We can be sent anywhere and can do the job of about five to six people. We have the ability to prescribe medication if needed, take vital signs and do inspections of any services our Airmen may use."
Being trained in dental, bioenvironmental, lab work and much more, IDMTs are a one stop medical shop for any Airman on TDY or in a deployed location.
One of the first things that happens when they arrive in a country, is go out to the local area and check for health threats such as environmental exposures, occupational stressors and potentially unsanitary food practices.
"We go to restaurants and check out how their food is brought in and prepared," said Cummings. "We check the pH and chlorine levels at the pool too. It's all part of preventative health."
Being enlisted helps IDMTs reach out to the Airmen and form a bond, which their primary doctor sometimes isn't able to do.
"We see the Airmen two to three times a week," said Master Sgt. Jana Ross, 493rd FS IDMT. "It's our job to keep them out of the clinic by making sure they are staying hydrated and healthy. We are the moms of the squadron."
IDMTs may be a one stop medical shop however, their main goal while on TDY or deployment is to take tours of the local hospitals so they can know where to go in case of a major emergency.
"Sometimes accidents happen and it's good to have someone here who knows what to do," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Vogel, 493rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics craftsman. "They have already built relationships with the Airmen and that continuity can flow back to Lakenheath."