Day in the Life

Follow five military physicians as they navigate the challenges and rewards during one day of service.
5 PHYSICIANS. 24 HOURS.
day-in-the-life-hero
Burdash_Profile
Winegarner_Profile
Nguyen
Forsberg
Trentini
Burdash_Profile

Sara Burdash, M.D.

Field Surgeon, Army National Guard

Winegarner_Profile

Hunter Winegarner, M.D.

Special Forces Battalion Surgeon, Army

Nguyen

Josephine Nguyen, M.D.

Dermatologist, Navy

Forsberg

Jonathan Forsberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Orthopaedic Oncologist, Navy

Trentini

John Trentini, M.D., Ph.D.

Emergency Medicine Resident, Air Force

alt
01:00PM

Hip-Pocket Training Lesson

In between training exercises, Sara gathers the medics for a quick, on-the-spot medical lesson known as "hip-pocket training." Here she applies her emergency medicine expertise to teach them when to suture or staple a wound.

More About Medical Training
alt
Sara Burdash, M.D.

Field Surgeon, Army National Guard

Hip-Pocket Training Lesson

In between training exercises, Sara gathers the medics for a quick, on-the-spot medical lesson known as "hip-pocket training." Here she applies her emergency medicine expertise to teach them when to suture or staple a wound.

More About Medical Training

BURDASH: All right. Next topic, who’s got one? FEMALE: Things that you would suture of staple, and why one versus the other. BURDASH: Sure. Yeah, that’s a great one. The idea is, is you want to do the best to help the body heal without doing any harm. That's key. You know, it’s the first rule of medicine is first do no harm. Primum no killum. I like to do stitches on almost all things, unless they are very big, or sometimes scalps are a nice place to do staples. Or if you’re in a situation where speed is of the essence. So if you’ve got a cut like that, all we want to do is bring these edges together to be able to let the body heal itself. And so, we can do that with staples, where we’ll push the skin together, so we’ll push it and hold it like that, and then we put staples in to hold the edges together. Or, we can kind of bring the skin together, and we put a needle in here through this part of the skin, out through this edge, on this side, into the skin here. And out on the other side. And we get to tie it in a knot. So we just finished some hip pocket or just in time training where we had a little lull while we were waiting for some additional equipment before our next class, so we basically just talk about whatever the soldiers want to talk about. Or whatever would be helpful at the time. We’ve talked about all kinds of things in the past. This time we just talked a little bit about wound cares, and respiratory infections. But we’ve just been informed that our equipment has arrived for the other class that we’re going to be doing, so we’re stopping this as needed type training, and we’re going to be moving over to our actual next class.

alt
01:04PM

"We have social events, like today's chili cook-off, at least once a month, and I try to attend whenever I can because I enjoy the camaraderie. I'm vice president of the wardroom, and here I am with the social chair who helped organize the event. I'm holding a bowl of my favorite chili, which is made with venison."

More About Life in the Military
alt
01:10PM

Benefits For Army Doctors

Hunter explains the many benefits that help support his family and his career.

More About Careers and Lifestyle
alt
Hunter Winegarner, M.D.

Special Forces Battalion Surgeon, Army

Benefits For Army Doctors

Hunter explains the many benefits that help support his family and his career.

More About Careers and Lifestyle

WINEGARNER: You know, there's so many benefits, it's hard to even count, but really, the things that drew me into being an Army doctor was, first and foremost, they paid for school, which is awesome. I also was at the military's med school, which was great because I got married while I was there, and so not only did I have health coverage through the military for myself but my wife also received healthcare and all the perks of being active-duty military then. And then during residency, we got all the same perks. So we were commissioned as captains in residency, and we were paid as active-duty captains in the military, which is much higher pay rate than a civilian in a similar job would be paid. I like pretty much everything about my job, really. I like the flexibility that I'm allowed to have, I like the way we run our clinic. There's a lot of autonomy in our job, and we have multiple hats that we wear, and so we'll be here in clinic and we'll wear our doctor hats and we'll do regular doctor things where we see patients and do regular doctor-type stuff. And then we'll also go over to our battalion, where we're also a member of the staff for our battalions. The role there is we advise our commander for medical issues that might come up for missions or training, that kind of thing. If you want to have that kind of -- chaotic at times, but also very fun lifestyle where you get to go and jump out airplanes or, you know, go learn how to be a combat diver, and take care of that kind of soldier, then yeah, it's a pretty good job, so.

alt
01:10PM

Orthopaedic Osseointegration Prosthetic

Jonathan is developing an innovative prosthetic that can attach directly to bone, which will help patients with blast-wound injuries.

More About Military Medical Advancements
alt
Jonathan Forsberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Orthopaedic Oncologist, Navy

Orthopaedic Osseointegration Prosthetic

Jonathan is developing an innovative prosthetic that can attach directly to bone, which will help patients with blast-wound injuries.

More About Military Medical Advancements

FORSBERG: So I have in front of me a prototype, and this prototype is designed to be attached to — attached to the skeleton. And the patient’s skin is here. And we’ve had an opportunity over the last couple of years to develop this porous material and test it in our preclinical model, to ensure that we have adequate blood supply in this area. So by ensuring that we have adequate blood supply to this area allows us to treat an infection with antibiotics, should it occur. We’re very hopeful that this technology will be useful in patients with amputations that are complicated by wound failure and heterotopic ossification.

alt
02:12PM

"These are simulation IEDs [improvised explosive device] we use to make the training atmosphere more realistic. You want your trainings to be as lifelike as possible so that the medics learn how to remain calm in a stressful situation. I think adding an element of stress leaves a lasting impression and helps them retain more information."

More About Military Medical Advancements
alt
01:13PM

"The control room in the simulation center is where whoever is running the scenario for the residents can speak to them through the microphone and can change the vital signs settings on the mannequin. The operator drives the case throughout the procedure."

More About Education and Training
alt
01:15PM

"This patient had a very severe blast injury and sustained the highest level of amputation of any survivor from the previous two conflicts. Heterotopic ossification, a kind of maladaptive healing response, formed all along his residual pelvis and perineum. This is a model we made from the patient's CT scan using a 3D printer that prints in resin."

More About Medical Specialties and Roles
alt
01:23PM

Light Therapy Treatment For Skin

Josephine uses light therapy to treat a young patient with vitiligo, a disease that causes a loss of skin color.

More About Interaction with Patients
alt
Josephine Nguyen, M.D.

Dermatologist, Navy

Light Therapy Treatment For Skin

Josephine uses light therapy to treat a young patient with vitiligo, a disease that causes a loss of skin color.

More About Interaction with Patients

NGUYEN: The use of ultraviolet light to treat inflammatory skin conditions like vitiligo or chronic itch — it’s a very powerful tool because there’s no ingestion of medication, and you’re using a natural form of therapy to suppress the immune system. Obviously this is something that you use for a very limited time. You don’t want to use it for a long period of time because of the risk with skin cancer and photo-aging. I’m excited because I believe that this patient will respond well to the light therapy.

alt
01:32PM

"In the simulation lab we can practice intubating a patient, which means to put a plastic tube through their vocal cords and secure their airway. In a trauma, if someone has a major injury to the neck or the mouth and you need to protect their airway, this is the way to do it."

More About Medical School
alt
01:40PM

"We use the whiteboard to communicate with our investigators, residents and collaborators, and we use the boards from the protocol development stage to the experimental design stage to the prepublication stage. When we analyze data, I like it to be displayed a certain way and you can see a box plot, some graphs and experimental groups."

More About Military Medical Research Projects
alt
02:41PM

"I use this camera for my telehealth appointments. Our setup is fairly portable. I can do real-time, synchronous visits using the camera, speakers and a microphone."

More About the Military Working Environment
alt
01:47PM

"Since I have two rooms, these indicators let me know the status of each patient. If the first patient is there, it's marked yellow and green, if the second patient is there, it's green only, and then if I'm done, I flip it to red."

More About the Military Working Environment
alt
01:55PM

"Just arrived at the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) to lead a training exercise for one of my medics. This area is designed to mirror various scenarios you might come across in a field trauma environment, and we use simulated mannequins to practice our medical skills."

More About the Work Environment