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Third Class of Air Force Nurses Graduates From TGH Training Program

Posted Apr 13, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Apr 13, 2012 at 05:48 PM

2nd Lt. Josh Talbot took the stage at Tampa General Hospital’s MacInnes Auditorium Friday afternoon, received his certificate and smiled for the camera.

Nine weeks ago, he and 10 other newly minted Air Force nurses were pretty much fresh out of college. Since February, the members of the third Air Force Nurse Transition Program at TGH got a hands-on tutorial at a major Level 3 trauma.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” said Talbot a few minutes after officially graduating.

This is the third class to have graduated the program since its inception at TGH in February, 2011. That’s when TGH became only one of three civilian hospitals in the country to offer this training.

The program, according to Col. Rob Rocco, commander of the 6th Medical Group at MacDill Air Force Base, is designed as a bridge between college and the rigors of military nursing.

“This is an opportunity to train with nurses who have had a lot of experience,” said Rocco.

Talbot said for him, the training was an excellent opportunity to learn time management skills, how to handle several patients at the same time, and basics like inserting tubes into patients.

He said he is looking forward to using the lessons learned at his first assignment - Travis Air Force Base in California.

Felice Rogers-Evans, one of the TGH “nurse preceptors” or trainers, said that the main skill she teaches is for the Air Force students to “trust their gut.”

“They should have confidence,” she said.

And ask questions.

“There is no such thing as a dumb question,” she said.

Especially when lives are on the line.

The next class begins in August, according to TGH spokeswoman Ellen Fiss.

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