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I Am Navy Medicine: Lauren McCall at NMRTU Everett

15 August 2022

From Douglas Stutz

EVERETT, Wash. - When Lauren McCall began working at Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit Everett, she was just continuing the family tradition and commitment of serving her country.

Along with a grandfather who was a non-commissioned officer, an uncle previously stationed in Japan and a cousin currently a hospital corpsman second class, McCall has been doing her part – and more - in her role as dental assistant.

“I have always been interested in working with the military as my extended family was and is Navy. Although I am not active duty, I do enjoy working alongside them to help do my part,” said McCall, a local Marysville, Washington native and Pilchuck High school 2013 graduate.

McCall has handled front desk duties for the last year and a half, yet her duty entails more than fielding telephone calls and scheduling patients.

“As a team, we focus on readiness and coordinating with independent duty corpsmen [assigned to ships homeported at Naval Station Everett]. I have been in the dental field for approximately six years, always expanding my experience from general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and now military,” McCall said.

McCall’s efforts as part of the dental team have not gone unnoticed. During a recent visit to the branch health clinic by Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, Naval Hospital Bremerton director and Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton commanding officer, she was lauded for her work ethic.

“As the Dental front desk and technician support, she works schedule coordination between fleet medical unit personnel and dental providers. Recently, she was a liaison with the fleet for over 100 physical exams. She was also critical in gathering current dental status from out of town dentists that allowed the clinic dentist to make solid expedited decisions for overseas and sea duty screenings,” remarked Chief Hospital Corpsman Benjamin Chapin, NMRTU Everett senior enlisted leader.

McCall attests that she routinely juggles a number of different duties from scheduling patients, taking calls, corresponding via email to other dental offices, scanning, updating dental class readiness, organizing multiple patient visits in a ‘dental rodeo day’ with independent duty corpsmen, reviewing overseas screenings and getting records ready for someone transferring from one command to another.

“The roles are endless and continuous. We have a really amazing team here. Navy Medicine has taken me on an eye opening experience this last year seeing how hard working and meticulous hospital corpsman are. We have seen over 100 patients in a day including appointment types such as Class 4 exams and Class 3 exams,” stated McCall.

Class 4 exams are for a patient who hasn’t had a dental exam in a year and/or their current dental classification is unknown. Class 3 patients need urgent/emergency dental treatment for usually active dental disease like a cavity which could get much worse within a year and being on deployment is no time to deal with such a impactful health concern.

Yet before any dental patient gets into a clinic chair, they first see McCall.

“My dental clinical duties are mainly front desk and readiness. Working the front desk and being the ‘face’ of dental, my primary roles in caring for each patient include scheduling appointments and following up with patients who have been referred out in town. Also guiding active duty by educating them into understanding what the different classes are and scheduling them accordingly. Another role is helping spouses and dependents find care outside the clinic and reviewing their overseas screenings,” explained McCall.

There have been challenges for McCall, the Dental department, as well as the entire branch health clinic. Collective efforts for over two years were focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19. That put a lengthy gap between appointments and treatment. Active duty personnel had to contacted and reminded on the need for dental readiness.

“Having to chase down Sailors needing exams and discovering just how long it’s been since they have had an exam or cleaning has been a challenge. With our team being goal oriented, we managed to get creative and always plan ahead to prevent readiness slipping,” McCall stated.

McCall counts her time spent in her position as one of growth, with the inclusionary bonus of being considered a valuable staff member.

“During my professional time here at Everett, I have learned the more you manage your time wisely, the more goals you meet. The best part about my career here so far is having just an amazing positive team. Being part of such a great team makes you feel included in doing something good. In return you get satisfaction of helping others have a better look on dental care or simply have a better day,” McCall said.

When asked to sum up her time with Navy Medicine in one sentence, McCall replied, “During my experience here for the last year and half, I have grown and achieved a lot more than I thought I would and I am excited for more years to come.”

 

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