Army nurse provides care for patients

By Sgt. Ann Venturato

LSA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — When the doors of the emergency room open the ER team is ready to respond. They welcome the patient with compassion and move him or her to the treatment area.

Capt. Olivia Angeles, an Army nurse, or one of the other members of the emergency room grabs a clipboard, the admission paperwork and gets some patient history while another member of the team takes the patient's temperature and blood pressure.

"What happens here (in the emergency room) is that we see patients for sick call and then as trauma goes, we fix them up," Angeles said.

It is all about teamwork in the emergency room, because a single person can't take care of a trauma patient by themselves, Angeles said.

The mission at the emergency room is to get the patient in and out of here as quickly as possible, Angeles said.

During her shift on July 30, Angeles and other members of the emergency medical treatment team helped a KBR employee with a severe headache; performed an electrocardiogram on a sergeant for his physical for drill sergeant school; applied a splint to the leg of an Iraqi national guard soldier and looked at a Soldier's broken toenail.

"It's not always trauma and blood" Angeles said. "When we work, we work; when it is down time, it's down time."

Angeles starts her work day at seven in the morning and works until seven at night. She usually works two days and has a day off before she works another two days.

"Here, I am truly an Army nurse. I am here to help people," Angeles said. "I feel it is my obligation to make them (the patients) feel safe," said Angeles, who has compassion for every patient who comes into the emergency room here.

"The people in the emergency room call me Mo [short for Maria Olivia] and the patients call me Angel," she said.

Angeles has experienced a different aspect of emergency room medicine since arriving on LSA Anaconda.

The team in the emergency room here has seen its fair share of traumas due to improvised explosive devices and mortar attacks so they enjoy the days when they don't have to treat a trauma patient who has come into the emergency room because of those attacks.

"Because back in the states you won't see rocket propelled grenades," said Angeles, who has treated a lot of trauma patients in the emergency room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"Since I have been here it has never been this slow. So we are thankful," Angeles said.

Although the emergency room was slow on that day, the emergency room team stayed ready to spring into action at a moments notice to provide lifesaving trauma care to whoever was in need.


news photo
Capt. Olivia Angeles

news photo
Capt. Olivia Angeles