Friday, June 12, 2009

Constantly under the microscope

As a medical provider, I have spent many hours in a clinical training environment, with any variety of preceptors looking over my shoulder. It becomes routine to adjust to another's opinions of "the right way," sometimes incorporating their suggestions, sometimes just smiling and moving on.

Well, we "soldiers"—my generic term for all of us here in training, really made up of Air Force, Army and Navy team members—at Camp Atterbury are currently undergoing a mission readiness exercise, otherwise known as "living under the giant microscope." We are conducting missions, throughout the acreage of the base, meant to replicate those we will likely experience once deployed to Afghanistan. We plan as we will in-country, conduct mission rehearsals and travel by convoy as a means of ironing out processes prior to leaving the training environment. So far, it has been the best training yet—a true time to put it all together and synchronize the information we have gained in the last two months. The drawback? Everywhere we turn, we are being observed, critiqued and assessed on our ability to do all of the above tasks.

We really appreciate all the work these dedicated trainers are doing, but some days it seems like we can't win. When that happens, we just smile, take the advice as intended and move on. We know we will soon be on our own in Afghanistan and the decisions will be ours. If, out of 20 suggestions, we utilize one, we have gained another tool to help us in our missions. And the additional time spent working together can only strengthen our bonds and improve our effectiveness once our boots "hit the ground."

When will that be? For security reasons, I can't say for certain and, to be honest, it changes every day. What I can tell you is, I anticipate celebrating my 39th birthday far from the safe shores of the United States!


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  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORI! Your approach is a good one. It makes life easier.

    Have a great week!