Flight nurses have vital role

(C-N) Capt. Danielle Werner, a 2008 graduate of Lakeview College of Nursing, recently graduated from the U.S. Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation Formal Training Course and earned her wings as a flight nurse.

Course evaluations for this program were overseen by former Rossville resident, Maj. Gary Hardy, who is a 1999 graduate of Lakeview.

“Danielle is one of the best nurses to roll through our course this year,” Hardy said. She is a native of Romeoville.

Technical Sgt. Brittany Zavala, technician instructor, described Werner as “spectacular, because she is the kind of nurse that can take care of herself.”

The aeromedical evacuation (AE) formal training course is the advanced course in a series. The basic flight nurse/aeromedical technician course, aerospace physiology, water survival and survival evasion and resistance courses are also included in the curriculum. The training is intense, demanding high mental and physical standards, Hardy said.

“Air Force AE is available for world-wide deployment at any time. The first role of AE is to clear the field hospitals in a combat zone so that they do not become overwhelmed with recovering patients as new wounded warriors come in,” Hardy said.

AE also is responsible for the movement of patients from theater hospitals, such as the level one trauma center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to stateside hospitals in San Antonio and Washington, D.C. Landstuhl is the largest American hospital outside the United States and is located in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz.

“AE crew members are accustomed to treating trauma/surgical patients, but also diseased and non-battle injury patients. Conditions may include anything from malaria to heart attacks to PTSD,” Hardy said.

Werner’s next assignment is Pope Army Air Field near Fayetteville, N.C., where she will assume flight nurse duties.

The 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons supports the 82nd Airborne Operations at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville. The 43rd’s motto is Tac Evac Brings ‘Em Back.