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Cmdr. Tracy Krauss, OIC and public health specialty leader of NMRTU, along with Patty Mac, a dog trained to detect elevated levels of cortisol in staff and patients, explained the importance of stress management while engaging with audience members.
“We use Patty Mac to identify staff and patients who are in emotional stress or distress, thereby allowing us to identify ways to help them,” Krauss said. “Patty breaks the ice and puts them at ease. She doesn’t judge, nor does she care about your color, religious preferences or political persuasion. She doesn’t care about any of that. She doesn’t pass judgement and I feel that’s so important for us to remember. Patty opens the door and gets people talking and that gives us the opportunity to really listen to what they’re saying. That helps us figure out what’s really going on,” said Krauss.
PRODEV is an initiative within NECC where topics such as nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, and stress management are discussed and members are directed to available resources. This month’s topic is health and wellness. The training department put together a special presentation highlighting the importance of those topics.
“I believe that PRODEV is important for NECC staff,” said Marcia O’Donnoghue, NECC staff training officer. “It is the one day a month when we can disconnect from our work stations, come together to network, communicate and learn something new that will help us with professional growth. Additionally, we may also recall something that we learned long ago, but never used. We are a command made up of military, government employees and contractors. It is important for us to learn from each other,” explained O’Donnoghue.
The command focuses on a number of topics during PRODEV and also where to find additional information and resources they may need. Participants learn about navy-wide assistance provided by entities throughout the Hampton Roads area.
“It is important to remember that you aren’t alone and we are here to listen and figure out ways to help you,” said Krauss who has been working with Patty Mack for two years. “There are people who will listen to you. People often don’t realize that there are people they can turn to. If we don’t find the answer today, we will stand beside you the following day, and the days after that, until we find the answer.”
NECCs’ mission is to organize, man, train, equip and sustain Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces to execute combat, combat support and combat services support missions across the full spectrum of naval and joint operations.
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