Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 28, 2020

Family Nurse Practitioner Gives Back to Army in Face of COVID-19

By Noriko Kudo

CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- Lt. Col. Dolores Toney says the U.S. Army has given her so much, so it only makes sense that she has spent her combined 22-year career returning the favor.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to the Army,” says Toney, 51, a family nurse practitioner assigned to U.S. Army Medical Department Activity – Japan here.

Toney, originally from the Philippines, has familial ties to the Army; her uncle enlisted and fought in the Vietnam War. In 1984, when she was 15, Toney immigrated to the United States from Manila with her family. She joined the Army after graduating high school, serving a three-year enlistment.

Fourteen years later, after earning her bachelor’s in nursing, Toney was commissioned as a second lieutenant. She attributes the Army for affording her the educational opportunities to enter the nursing field, and says her service “compelled her to keep growing and learning professionally,” which led her to earn her doctoral degree. This, in turn, has allowed her to function more autonomously as a nurse practitioner, Toney says.

Family nurse practitioners, Toney explains, are advanced practitioners with prescriptive authorities, “blending clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions, with an emphasis on disease prevention and health management.” FNPs, she says, help bring a “comprehensive perspective and holistic approach” to health care.

“I see and treat patients in the whole spectrum, from pediatrics to geriatrics,” Toney says. “I try my best to establish a trusting relationship with patients within the time constraint and really listen to them without judgment.”

Toney says she does not take her responsibility as a medical worker lightly. She feels privileged when patients open up and “share their fears and personal experiences and thoughts,” despite the vulnerability this requires.

“My job is very rewarding, especially when I’ve made a positive impact in someone’s life [and] knowing that I helped facilitate that change,” Toney says. “There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a patient [of yours] improve.”

Toney has spent her medical career giving back to the Army by treating her fellow Soldiers and anyone else who comes into her waiting room. But one of her most fulfilling professional experiences came during the height of a historic pandemic that is currently affecting the entire world: A few months ago, MEDDAC-J received its first patient who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Treating the patient at such a relatively small clinic brought with it many challenges for Toney and her staff, including unknown, evolving and conflicting information on the coronavirus itself; social distancing; anxiety over the virus spreading within the facility; and testing and protective equipment shortages.

However, Toney says, the command team at MEDDAC-J responded quickly by establishing virtual health consultation capabilities, deferring preventative screenings, and revising the clinic’s templates to focus care on those patients with acute injury and viral illnesses.

“I think my experiences and knowledge helped me react to these unprecedented circumstances professionally and calmly, and helped the staff focus on their scope of practice as well,” Toney said.

Though the specter of COVID-19 remains a concern, the clinic’s daily mission of providing safe and quality care has not changed, Toney says.

“The medical field has always been fraught with uncertainty and discomfort—that is what the job entails,” Toney says. “[But] I’d like to think that everyone who chooses to be in the medical field is driven by altruism.”

Toney says she hopes she and her staff are able to learn from these experiences in order to be optimally prepared for the next time the Army faces a similar crisis.

She recalls the commitment she made when she entered the medical field.

“We are on the front lines.”
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
304,840
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Nation Observes 80th Anniversary of Attack on Pearl Harbor
A graphic created for the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Dec. 7, 2021 - WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 7, 1941, 80 years ago, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Oahu, an island in the then-U.S. territory of Hawaii.  Some events leading up to the attack provide context to what happened that day.Spotlight:...

Timor-Leste, U.S. Begin Bilateral Exercise CARAT Timor-Lesteral Exercise CARAT Timor-Leste
Aviation Electronic's Technician 2nd Class Labaron Johnson, from Conroe, Texas, assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, gives a tour to members of the Timor-Leste Defense Force of an MH-60S Sea Hawk from the flight deck aboard Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18), during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. In its 27th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partnered navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Charleston, part of Destroyer Squadron
Dec. 7, 2021 - PORT HERA, Timor-Leste -- Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and U.S. military are partnering in the 27th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) maritime exercise, virtually, on land, and in the territorial...

3DMEB and the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade begin Annual Command Post Exercise Yama Sakura 81
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, III., commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force visits Exercise Yama Sakura 79 on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 12, 2020. YS 79 allows Marines, and their Japanese counterparts to maintain their interoperability, and readiness to respond to any crisis or contingency in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dec. 7, 2021 - OKINAWA, Japan -- The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade are taking part in Yama Sakura 81, an annual command post exercise, Dec. 7 to Dec. 13, 2021 at...

Indo-Pacom, Southcom Leaders Discuss Allied Security at National Forum
In this file photo, Adm. John Aquilino delivers remarks during the change of command ceremony for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, where he assumed command. Aquilino, who was previously the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, acknowledged Indo-Pacom's critical role in providing regional peace and security.
Dec. 7, 2021 - WASHINGTON -- Advancing U.S. security through partnerships and alliances with other nations was the topic discussed by two combatant command leaders at Saturday's Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan...

Korea Defense Veterans Association hosts annual education conference for Junior Service Members
Retired Maj. Gen. Lee Seo Young, Korea Defense Veterans Association Korean chapter president, educates the audience on the history of the Republic of Korea and United States alliance during the 2021 KDVA Alliance Education Conference Nov. 24, 2021 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The KDVA’s mission includes honoring both ROK and US sacrifices that were made in order to preserve the welfare of the Republic of Korea.
Dec. 7, 2021 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA) hosted their 3rd annual luncheon at Osan Air Base, Nov. 24, 2021. This education conference was established in 2018 to help educate junior...