By Steve Lewis
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD — While deployed to Afghanistan, Air Force Capt. Gina Fasciani, RN, BSN, wasn’t afraid to don battle gear and leave her bunker to take care of patients.
“While under indirect fire, she [left] the safety of the bunker, put on her battle gear and ran to her patients to ensure their safety,” said Maj. Daniel Donohue, who nominated the 28-year-old nurse for recognition as the U.S. Air Force’s Airman of the Year at the 46th USO Woman of the Year Luncheon.
Capt. Gina Fasciani is credited with ensuring 99% survival rate while directly treating 380 trauma patients.
Fasciani, who escorted 16 wounded servicemembers to helicopters for treatment that day, won the award not only for her battlefield exploits but also for what she did behind the scenes.
“What makes Capt. Fasciani stand out even more are the extra duties she volunteered for while deployed: She was named the head of a preventive medicine initiative, authoring a standard of practice on hygiene for an international clinic and led a mentoring program for 30 Afghan women,” wrote Donohue, who called her “a portrait of a nurse who epitomizes all that the ‘Battlefield Guardian’ embodies,” to inspire future generations.
Fasciani, presently assigned to the 79th Medical Wing at Joint Base Andrews, MD, served as the crucial care nursing expert for a surgical operating team based in Afghanistan at Forward Operating Base Ghazni from March to October 2011. She is credited with ensuring a 99% survival rate and directly treating 380 trauma patients, of which 342 required emergency transfer to a higher level of care.
“I think it’s an honor; you get the best of both worlds,” Fasciani tells U.S. Medicine about her dual role as a nurse and an Air Force officer. “It’s an awesome mission.”
Prior to her deployment, she was named No. 1 out of 54 nurses in the ICU at Walter Reed National Military Medicine Center, Bethesda, MD, where she now serves as a critical care nurse.
In addition to the USO honor, Fasciani has received the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon, Air Force Expedition Service Ribbon with Gold Border, AF Longevity Service, AF Training Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
The VA has granted full practice authority to three roles of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their education, training and certification, regardless of state restrictions.
Drema Bratton, RN, has made it very clear that she has no plans to retire. “They’re going to have to pry me out of here,” declared Huntington VAMC’s Nurse of the Year.