APEQS and SAFE ... more alphabet soup!

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    Getting into my new role as a green-suiter... My most excellent CNOIC (that's Clinical Nurse Officer-in-Charge, AKA "Head Nurse") allotted a week for me to in-process to the hospital. I was so antsy to get back to working in an ER!

    APEQS and SAFE ... more alphabet soup!

    So many levels of bureaucracy -- in-processing to the post, then the hospital. But both are necessary, so I tried to be patient (not one of my strengths, certainly). The first thing we tried to do was to get me logged into APEQS, which is the AMEDD Personnel Education and Quality System. This is the system that provides some of and tracks all of the training we're required to do, both in-person and online.

    (And one thing I've learned, between MEDPROS [medical readiness dashboard] and APEQS [training readiness dashboard]: red is bad, green is good ... anything in red text is deficient, green is up to date!)

    Unfortunately I kept getting an error message that my APEQS directory needed to be created, and guess what?

    The one person who could do it was out on vacation. Sigh. No APEQS for me during orientation week; I'd have to find time to do it later.

    I was also happy to hear that I was going to be "volun-told" (mandatory volunteerism, hooah!) to attend the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) training. Before I was even thinking about the Army, I was looking into Forensic Nursing -- it has been an interest of mine for a while. I interviewed a SANE-A nurse as part of my BSN coursework and my Public Health Nursing class, and she pointed me toward some training resources. Unfortunately paying for these endeavors would have to come out of my own pocket, so I had been hesitating to spend the money. Once I started a dialog with my recruiter, she told me that I might want to wait on doing anything in the SANE realm because a lot of military facilities use civilian contractors for their SANE resources, and she'd hate to see my money wasted.

    Anyway, I arrived at my duty station/Military Treatment Facility (MTF) just in time -- the didactic portion of the SAFE course was a month away, and I was going to be sent to the course. The MTF and post command is dedicated to a strong SAFE program because, unfortunately, sexual assault is a very large problem in the military community. I also learned that reporting laws are very different in Georgia. In Virginia where I'd been living, a sexual assault victim is entitled to a SAFE exam without the pressures of deciding whether or not to involve law enforcement at the time of evidence collection. The evidence collection kit is held for a period of time, during which a victim can decide if he or she wants to pursue any legal avenues.

    In Georgia, it's a bit different. Civilian victims have no such entitlement -- their cases are always unrestricted, meaning law enforcement is involved. Active duty victims can have a restricted case, i.e., no law enforcement, no chain of command, as long as they don't tell anyone outside of healthcare providers, victim advocates, chaplains, or sexual assault response coordinators. And if an active duty member goes anywhere besides a military ER for a SAFE exam, the case is automatically unrestricted. So needless to say, it gets a bit complicated. Soldiers don't realize that even if they only tell their battle buddy about it, they've given up their rights to a restricted report, and chain of command and law enforcement must be notified.

    I'm currently in the process of completing my clinical requirements to become a SAFE; I should be ready to start taking call next month. It's been a challenge getting some of the clinical requirements completed because they require daytime activities, and I've been on nights since July. But I'm getting there!

    And back to APEQS ... my advice to those of you with APEQS requirements is to check that dashboard weekly, because new courses get added all the time. You can think you're up to date, but go more than a week without checking it and you'll find you have three new courses on there in blazing red, all waiting to be completed!

    I find that it is absolutely invaluable to have a CAC card reader at home so that I can access my APEQS. Do I want to do work at home?

    Of course not!

    Is it sometimes necessary?

    Absolutely. I also check my AMEDD email at home, which, unlike AKO email, cannot be read on a smartphone or anywhere else without a CAC card reader. So much information is put out by email, and I really feel lost if I don't check it daily.

    Like any other nursing job, this one also requires a time investment outside of the usual "work hours." No surprise there!

    It has been manageable thus far.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 14, '15
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