Pediatric Pals: Providing for our young

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 590th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
When it comes to a child's health, many parents are concerned for their well-being. The 509th Medical Operations Squadron pediatrician clinic at this Air Force Global Strike Command base specializes in just that, and serves military families by providing health care for children ranging from birth to 18-years-old.

The 509th Medical Group's mission statement is to provide health system support to our wing, care for our nation's warriors past and present and prepare competent- expeditionary medics to excel anytime, anywhere.

"Under the 509th MDG mission statement, the pediatrics clinic works to provide care for the children of active-duty, guard and reserve at Whiteman," said Tech. Sgt. Sharon Catana, 509th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of pediatric clinic. "If we ensure the children are healthy and doing well, then parents can do their job supporting the mission, instead of being home, worrying about their sick child."

The staff is manned by 10 members, who collectively handle more than 1,400 patients a month.

"We stay busy all year-long," Sergeant Catana said. "Many of the patients we see are at daycare during the day where they may catch germs which lead to sickness.

"The most common calls the clinic receives are for upper respiratory infections such as the cold or flu," Sergeant Catana said. "We also get calls for acute ears, eyes and throat problems and perform strep cultures."

When a child visits the pediatrics clinic, the staff makes every effort to put the child in a comfortable environment according to Tonya Billinglsey, 509th MDOS registered nurse.

"We do whatever the child needs to be comforted to include, playing with them, singing to them, turning on the TV, whatever it takes," said Ms. Billinglsey. "We try to explain, at an age appropriate level, what we are planning on doing because not knowing for a child often makes their experience worse."

When it comes to team work, Sergeant Catana said her staff does not hesitate to jump in to assist.

"Everyone here helps and does as much as they can," she said. "It helps that we are a close knit group of individuals. Even though we have our own individual jobs, we still help one another."

The pediatrician clinic is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and military ID card holders can call (660) 687-2188 to make an appointment.