HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
National Doctors' Day, celebrated on March 30, was established to recognize physicians, their work, and their contributions to society and the community. This year, Holloman is highlighting the efforts of pediatricians from the 49th Medical Operations Squadron.
Captain Manisha Mills, a 49th MDOS pediatrician, handles both well and sick patient visits daily.
“We [49th MDOS pediatrics office] primarily see younger kids,” said Mills. “We can see some of the young adult age group but the way things are broken up we see smaller kids and do their wellness visits. We also go over to the local hospital, Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, and see newborn babies there.”
Mills said she will go over to the hospital if a new baby from an active duty family registered to the base pediatrics office is born to make sure the child is healthy and to perform any necessary follow-ups.
“We are like a full service deal and we are available pretty much 24/7 by phone or through the clinic for them to contact one of us,” Mills said.
Mills said her framework consists of about 20-23 appointments per day and in between those appointments, her office takes walk-in clinics.
“They don’t even need an appointment, they just come up and talk to our technicians and go from there,” Mills said. “The appointments are set but then there are walk-ins so that could be quite a few patients. The 20-23 appointments is per provider so I’ll have anywhere from 20-23 and so will the other doctor. With the walk-ins, we sort of scatter them between the two of us whoever is available.”
Mills said that the office is quite busy and even with a smaller base, the doctors still have a strict empanelment per provider.
“No matter where I am, I can have up to 1,250 patients in my care booking appointments with me,” Mills said. “Each of us can have up to that many and we are kind of close to that mark. Right now, here at Holloman, even though it’s a small area per person, the workload is still what you can see at a bigger base so it can be pretty stressful. If I’m on leave it’s just her or if she’s on leave it’s just me doing double duty so scheduling-wise and keeping up when someone is gone can be pretty challenging.”
Mills said one of the advantages of being a smaller clinic is that they do have a little more control over how they set things up.
“We have a couple of nurses, a few technicians and some front desk staff so we have protocol set in place for any scenario you can think of how things will sort of run until they get to us,” Mills said. “We try to really maximize how we use their skills so that they’re not just pushing paperwork. If they could be doing injections or testing or things for us we try to really utilize their skills until it gets to the point where only the doctor can do the task.
Mills said her techs and nurses do quite a bit for the doctors to minimize the workload as needed.
“It’s very challenging but the best part of it, which we constantly say throughout the day, is that we love pediatrics,” Mills said. “You do have that sort of lighter element that you get to play with the kids while you’re examining them. It requires creativity and a little bit of thinking on how to get your job done in a different way, but it’s also fun because you get to play with them and interact with them. That part of it keeps the day kind of rolling without too much stress.”