Friday, March 2, 1984
pages 12-13

Clinic's development turns into community bonus
by JO2 Gloria Montgomery

It's genesis began through the volunteer efforts several years ago of a Navy pediatrician formerly stationed here, in a make-shift examining room located at the elementary school.

Today, his pioneering efforts have evolved into a modern hospital clinic meeting the basic medical needs of the American military population living north of Agnano.

Instead of being greeted by the usual impersonal and gloomy atmosphere often associated with large hospitals, patients are greeted by staff members going out of their way to offer friendly morning greetings. Its customers leave saying that it's an atmosphere they don't mind going back to.

Located near the Pinetamare Shore Patrol and Navy Exchange facilities, the Pinetamare Branch Clinic opened one year ago last October. The purpose of the clinic is to provide basic routine medical care such as check-ups, immunizations and routine X-rays. The clinic opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and closes at 4:30 p.m. with the exception of Thursdays when the clinic closes at noon.

The clinic was developed "because of a need perceived by the community," said Lt. Cmdr. Jane Markley, one of the two clinical nurses assigned to the clinic. "They felt there was a need for routine medical care," she said, speaking of the large influx of the American population living in Lago Patria and northward.

Until recently, staff workers manning the clinic were "borrowed" from the Naval Hospital.

When the billets for the staff of six hospital corpsman, a pediatric nurse practitioner, physician's assistant and two nurses were filled in December, along with two physicians on loan from the hospital, attendance increased from an average of 100 patients per month to approximately 270 per week.

The clinic offers such services as military sick call, adult acute care, pediatric care and pediatric counseling.

Warrant Officer Wade Marion, a physician's assistant, encourages single people to come to the clinic. "It's not just for the family," he said, because the clinic considers the single servicemember as a family. "Our primary aim is to support the fleet and if we are not seeing active duty, we are not directly supporting the fleet," he said.

In addition, there is a wart clinic held on Mondays from 2:30-4 p.m. "We have 14-16 appointments available per clinic," Markley said.

Well-baby clinics are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays. "This allows the mother to receive a routine baby-care check-up that looks at the health and growth patterns of newborns to see if they are feeding well and maturing correctly," Markley said.

Since Lt. Cmdr. Robert Donofrio, the clinic's pediatric nurse practitioner, is also a child therapist, the Pinetamare Branch clinic offers an unusual service -- a behavior clinic. The purpose of the clinic is to try to make a "meaningful interaction between the child and his environment," Donofrio said.

The clinic concentrates on such childhood problems as stress, bed wetting, night fears and phobias. When the Naples-Pozzuoli area started experiencing an increase in earth tremors, Donofrio said, "the clinic had a rash of patients with fears of volcanoes." The clinic also helps children cope with the loss of a parent when the father deploys.

On Wednesday evenings, the behavior group meets at the clinic. Children, who are having trouble adjusting, meet with other children experiencing similar problems, interacting with one another through play therapy and relaxation exercises. Both the Family Service Center and Cmdr. Bruce MacHaffie, assistant chief of pediatrics at the Naples U.S. Naval Hospital, work closely with Donofrio during the group meetings.

The general concept of the branch clinic in patient care is health and wellness training.

"The patients didn't get it here before. We try to teach people how to care for themselves -- to know when and when not to come in. We also teach them about good nutrition," Markley said.

The clinic also has a community outreach program in which staff members go to the elementary school to introduce sixth-grade students to the concepts of sexuality.

"Since they are going to high school next, we explain the body changes from a child's body to an adolescent," Donofrio said. The theme of last year's program was "Growing Up and Liking It."

The clinic now services approximately 300 families. Any military member of the community and dependents may receive care there as long as they bring medical records with them.

Markley stressed that in the case of dependent children's medical records, the consent form for treatment should be filled out properly. "If there's a possibility the parent might not be coming with the child to the clinic, the routine medical care box should be checked. We can't treat the child without the consent form."

Michael at work -- Feb 1984
Dr. Michael Cole, one of the two family practice physicians on loan to the clinic from the Naples U.S. Naval Hospital, "entertains" 4-month-old Kasey Jones, daughter of Storekeeper Third Class Sharon Jones, during a routine check-up.

One of the servicemembers receiving care there is Storekeeper Third Class Sharon Jones who likes the service because it is more convenient to her home and offers a "more personal environment," she said. "The people know you there. The attendants seem to care more about the patients here," she said. Since housing statistics indicate that approximately 85 percent of the American population live north of Lago Patria, Jones said she feels the convenient location of the clinic has helped people out, "especially those who live in the towers and the husband takes the car to work."

Mike Raymond and his family are members of the clinic's family practice, but also use the U.S. Naval Hospital. "The clinic is more convenient and has a great staff. I only wish they were open 24 hours for emergencies and had an ambulance. If they did, it would make the clinic as close to perfection as possible," he said.

The clinic has 300 appointments available each week. Sick call is held daily Monday through Friday from 8-9 a.m. and 1-2 p.m. There is no afternoon sick call on Thursdays.

Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - noon and from 2-4 p.m. with the exception of Thursdays when the clinic closes at noon.

Immunization clinics are held Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-11:15 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Appointments are not required for the clinic. The well-baby clinic is held at the same time as the immunization clinic.

The clinic's pharmacy can fill most routine prescriptions. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. - noon and 1-4 p.m. daily except on Thursdays when it closes at 2 p.m. The laboratory can do most routine blood work, urine tests and cultures.

To schedule an appointment or for more information concerning the Pinetamare Branch Clinic, call 823-858-774.

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