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NEWS | July 5, 2016

Development program helps Wilford Hall medics cultivate customer service skills

59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

Warrior medics from the 59th Medical Wing are seeking direct feedback from patients and improving the patient experience through a new program developed by the 59th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron.

The Deliberate Development Program helps Airmen cultivate their customer service skills by giving them access to personal and professional development opportunities. The training helps develop them personally and professionally so they can better relate to patients.

The medical staff identify desired training and mentorship opportunities, and squadron leadership works to offer it on the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center campus, said Capt. Lindzi Howder, 59th MDTS nutritional medicine flight commander.

Program curriculum and presentations focus on the application of practical skills in areas such as process improvement, customer service, administration and business management. “Areas that directly affect customer services,” Howder said.

Originally established in 2015, the program continues to grow.

“It has been constantly expanding, offering more topics and a variety of guest speakers. The program will include educational tracks and discussion sessions based on the Air Force Chief of Staff reading list and rank structure to ensure topics and presenters meet the needs of all our Airmen,” said Howder.

“If Airmen improve their knowledge and network of leadership, management, and self-improvement, then those behaviors should trickle down into the workplace,” she said.

The program occasionally relies on guest speakers who are not only military veterans but also patients. This relationship gives medics the chance to get to know the people they take care of on a personal basis. “It’s this mentoring that helps boost our Airmen’s customer service skills,” said Howder.

During a recent mentoring session, Airmen received leadership tips from retired Tech. Sgt. Arnold Parker, a Korean War veteran who worked at the 3700 United States Air Force Hospital on Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in the early 1950s.

“If you put a person in charge, you have to give them the authority to do the job. You cannot give one without the other,” he said during the session.

And Airmen are responding. They appreciate the chance to learn from people who can relate to what they’re going through.

“We have the opportunity to get out of our work environment, which can be stressful at times, and listen to someone who understands our job and patient care. Someone who lived it but just in a different time,” said Airman 1st Class Victoria Milam, 59th MDTS pharmacy technician.

“I learned a lot about doing things the right way, and how it is worth it to stay in the Air Force,” she said.

For more information on the Deliberate Development Program, contact Senior Airman Ashley Adams at 210-292-4170 or Capt. Lindzi Howder at 210-292-5023.