"Gold Eagle" Medical and Dental Departments Merge

Story Number: NNS080408-32Release Date: 4/8/2008 5:08:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nina Hughes, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is merging its Medical and Dental departments at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard this April to provide more efficient services for the crew and help produce more well-rounded and flexible Navy corpsman.

The new Health Services Department merger will allow the ship's corpsmen to enhance their Navy careers by broadening their horizons as health care professionals.

"The merger is great because it gives corpsman Sailors a great opportunity to advance by receiving much broader and more in-depth, on-the-job training as the two departments combine together," said Cmdr. Chris Lucas, Carl Vinson's senior medical officer. "The quality of patient care and operations will remain at their already-optimal levels."

Lucas added that the merger will also open up several new leadership positions as the department organization is reconstructed. Medical and Dental divisions will be maintained strictly for organizational purposes, but assigned corpsman will routinely alternate divisional duties to maximize the level of cross-training each Sailor receives in the new department.

"More Sailors, who are trained to do more procedures, will result in better trained corpsman in both the medical and dental fields," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW) Ryan Predum.

Predum said there was another added benefit to the health care services merger; a streamlined training path for all corpsman.

"Both rates are given about 75 percent of the same training in school, but dental technicians got an extra course," said Predum. "Now, all the Sailors will receive the same training under Health Services, and we'll have better qualified corpsman to meet the health needs of our Sailors."

While the merger of Medical and Dental departments on board Vinson is a new concept for the crew, it isn't for the corpsman stationed on board. Carl Vinson's health care team has been training and preparing for the merger, which has enabled a smooth transition and seamless adjustment to the new departmental structure.

"All in all, we are really excited about the merger," said Lucas. "We're moving forward, one department at a time, to take the best possible care of our crew."

For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.

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