MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
A small boy in blue jeans, a grey T-shirt and sporting a blonde comb over with a slight sheen from the gel used to hold it in place is ushered into a room with plain white walls. As he entered, the boy notices a chair to the right of the door. Hanging on the wall above a chair is an otoscope, a medical tool used to look into ears. The boy then rushes to climb up the chair, staring at the tool with a twinkle of what seemed to be curious excitement in his eye.
He continues climbing, laughing at the crinkling of the paper that covers the seat, and reaches for the otoscope. Before he snatches it, Senior Airmen Shania Stanford, 366th Medical Support Squadron pediatrics clinic aerospace medical technician, enters the room. When the boy sees Stanford, he jokingly opens his mouth wide and says “ahh” as if he has done this many times before. A smirk slowly forms as he bursts into a triumphant laughter. He knows the routine and he’s proud of it.
This is 3-year-old Jude at his pediatrics appointment. He has been to the clinic several times and is accustomed to the check-up procedure.
Although not all kids will be as enthusiastic as Jude, all of them will be treated with the professional medical care they need.
The pediatric clinic’s objective is to care for children from birth to the age of 18 and provide military families a peace of mind knowing their kids are in good health.
Stanford said she sees kids like Jude on a daily basis and has learned to adapt to make them as relaxed as possible.
“We change our approach by using softer voices, verbal encouragement, and playfulness when interacting with kids to make them feel more comfortable,” Stanford said. “We also offer incentives, like stickers and candy, to encourage them to be excited about their medical appointments.”
Even so, the doctor’s office can be a really intimidating experience for some children.
“Some patients really like coming to the doctor, and some of them are scared every single time,” Stanford said. “It's just about being patient and gentle with them because they don't understand what we're doing when they're little.”
A welcoming environment is important for families to never hesitate about getting the proper healthcare their kids need.
The clinic prioritizes maintaining top-tier patient care, said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Goebel, 366th MDSS pediatric clinic NCO in charge.
One of the ways they ensure excellent care is by pre-screening patient records before their appointment to avoid asking repetitive questions. This enables the clinic to efficiently use the time with each patient to perform check-ups and treatments while minimizing administrative redundancy.
Goebel explained that patients who come in for a follow-up appointment will see the same doctor and have the opportunity to establish trust with them to further receive excellent care.
The way the clinic takes care of Airmen is making sure their families are cared for.
“It takes a dedicated team to make that happen,” Goebel said.
Effective teams are made with people who are excited about what they do on a daily basis.
“I am very passionate about my job,” said Stanford. “When it comes to pediatrics, I love kids and I am honored to be one of the people that contributes to their overall health.”
This passion is what creates an internal commitment for pediatric technicians like Stanford to provide excellent care to every child they see.
This care includes providers offering procedures in the clinic such as: circumcisions, incision and drainages, frenectomies and more. Technicians are also trained as immunizations backup technicians (IBTs).
Stanford and the pediatrics team strive each day to ensure the children of our Airmen are happy and healthy.
“In the end, my favorite part of my job is seeing patients get better,” said Stanford. “You can see such a difference in their behavior. They go from very lethargic to playful and happy. It’s like a whole new person!”
“That’s what motivates me. That transformation. It’s so rewarding.”
If you or a loved one would like to make an appointment, please call (208)-828-7900, otherwise walk-in appointments for sore throat examinations and wart treatments are conducted from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and 1 to 3:30 p.m.