An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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.”

Like Us
Follow Us



Readout of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Meetings with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Srettha Thavisin and Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara
Jan. 26, 2024 - National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met today in Bangkok, Thailand with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand...

USS Antietam departs Yokosuka after nearly 11 years of forward-deployed service
240126-N-YQ181-1111 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 26, 2024) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) departs Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, Jan. 26, 2024. USS Antietam departed Yokosuka for the final time before transiting to its new homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of a planned rotation of forces in the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Askia Collins)
Jan. 26, 2024 - The Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) departed Yokosuka, Japan, on Jan. 26 to transit to its new homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of a planned rotation of forces in the Pacific...

Regional Ambassadors Conference 2024
Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosts the Regional Ambassadors Conference (RAC), at the USINDOPACOM headquarters in Hawaii on Jan. 22-24. The RAC brought together more than 30 ambassadors, military representatives and foreign policy advisors, for discussions aimed at enhancing U.S. interagency collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region. USINDOPACOM is committed to working with Allies and partners toward the shared vision of a secure, rules-based, and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Riel)
Jan. 26, 2024 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, hosts the Regional Ambassadors Conference (RAC), at the USINDOPACOM headquarters in Hawaii on Jan. 22-24. The RAC brought together more than 30 ambassadors,...

35th Fighter, Fighter Generation Squadron hone agility capabilities
An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron takes off for agile combat employment mission at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Jan.19, 2024. The 35th FS and 35th Fighter Generation Squadron members participated in an out-and-back mission with Kadena Air Base to practice ACE principles. The 8th Fighter Wing routinely trains ACE concepts, aligning with Pacific Air Forces’ warfighting priorities and keeping pace with evolving threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick)
Jan. 25, 2024 - 8th Fighter Wing Airmen and F-16 assets honed agile combat employment capabilities, conducting an out-and-back mission with the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Jan 18...

Exercise on Humphreys airfield tests emergency responders
First responders conduct a pre-accident drill upon a Chinook on Desiderio Army Airfield, Jan. 23, 2024 on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. The installation conducts the drill on a regular basis and tests rescue and recovery operations.(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Johnny Rodriguez.)
Jan. 25, 2024 - On the ice-cold tarmac of Camp Humphreys’ Desiderio Army Airfield, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter landed, while inside seven Soldiers staged themselves as mock victims of a crash, kicking off the second quarter pre-accident...