Up until now, 2002 nursing alumnus Maj. Samuel Millar has been managing aeromedical evacuation (AE) for the Pacific theater in the United States Air Force (USAF). He has also created and implemented joint curriculum between the USAF and, for example, the Royal Thai Air Force in preparation for collaboration over such catastrophic events as tsunamis and cyclones in humanitarian assistance missions.
Maj. Millar says, "The military has a tendency of placing individuals in situations they thought they'd never be in. In my case, having the opportunity to work as a flight nurse has had many benefits. While stationed in the Pacific I was fortunate enough to have traveled to several Asia-Pacific countries and worked with their leadership exchanging ideas related to techniques, procedures and inflight medical care as it relates to AE. Emphasis was placed on how the USAF and our Asia-Pacific partners could integrate aircraft, equipment and aircrews during international Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) operations. These engagements have been well-received and future visits have been ongoing. In fact, I will be headed to Vietnam for a week in June to discuss AE with Vietnamese medical personnel. The opportunity to build partnerships with different countries with regard to inflight nursing care has been a fantastic experience.”
Millar has now stepped into a new role as AE instructor flight nurse at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. He teaches nurses and medical technicians how to practice medicine in the flight environment. “Transforming hospital medical personnel to flying medical personnel presents a whole new challenge,” says Millar. “We take nurses and medical technicians from a hospital environment and transform them into flyers by putting them through a rigorous 20-day academic curriculum. We teach them patient care in a flight environment, adding flight physiology, operations in and around aircraft, medical equipment functions, aircraft configuration and patient loading. In what could be considered a cumulative final, the last three days of the course has students putting it all together by configuring a C-130 aircraft trainer, loading simulated patients onto the C-130 and taking care of them in a simulated in-flight environment (while incorporating and applying everything they’ve learned in the course).”
Does Millar miss his former action role? “I do miss flying and the challenges of overseeing pacific theater operations and programs from an AE perspective. However, I enjoy teaching and passing on my knowledge and the enthusiasm I have for taking care of patients in the air. For me, instructing provides the experience for teaching nursing students at the college/university level later down the line, after retirement.”
- April 2014