SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- As military members, we are expected to deploy and possibly relocate in many different environments to ensure organizational objectives and mission requirements are met.
As such, we will most certainly be exposed to different cultures that could result in a positive, negative, or challenging experience. So, how can we ensure a positive transition and integration experience when challenged with environmental and cultural paradigm shifts?
From my experience, it’s imperative to set realistic goals that reflect a planned approach. Prior to relocation, members should invest time to research their future surroundings, including culture, local language, customs, and expectations, even if considered benign and within the same country. It will provide invaluable information in regards to cultural paradigm and assist members to adapt and thrive in their new environment.
Many stressors can effect how we transition and integrate, including anticipation, resiliency, predetermined concepts or beliefs, and personal or organizational expectations. You could complete an evaluation of your family’s values and consider how it could affect them during this sensitive transition period. And then, to ensure a smooth relocation process, develop a plan on how you’ll meet these challenging and perhaps difficult times.
My family and I were, and continue to be faced with countless challenges of various different difficulties whether personal or professional. However, we meet these trials positively and use appropriate resources in order to devise long-term solutions.
For example, we do not have any family support due to distance, but we were fortunate to meet and develop a circle of friends to assist us and act as our family away from home.
Professionally, the Air Force has provided me with resources and assistance to ensure my success. The success of my family’s transition was built from a strong and realistic foundation set prior to relocating. Our expectations and goals were aligned with intent, we maintained a positive and open attitude, and used available resources as required.
Our pre-departure preparations resulted in substantially lowering stressors associated with moving to another country. This experience has provide my family and I the opportunity to travel around the United States, including a lifelong dream to visit Disney World.
COVID-19 has now restricted all movements, however we are hoping they will eventually be lifted so we have the opportunity to visit Universal Studios prior to our departure back to Canada. I was also privileged to deploy with the 405th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron to Afghanistan as an Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Officer with the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team. The mission involved movement of patients with traumatic battle injuries and non-battle injuries including local nationals, NATO Forces, and American military, and contractors from point of injury to a higher level of care.
The experience provided me with a strategic level insight of requirements to successfully launch and recover missions and ensure appropriate care up until the transfer of patient accountability.
During my military posting here, we were presented with a variety of positive life changing opportunities. For anyone else getting ready for a change, I would recommend maintaining a positive and open attitude to ensure a smooth transition to your new work place. Take advantage of our military professional lifestyle to maintain an open perspective throughout and you may learn something new.
Personally this exchange has increased my strategic and tactical knowledge of patient care, movement, rules and regulation in all their forms and solidified and strengthen my resolve within the AE community.
My family and I are grateful and proud to be a part of this international exchange, we continue to look forward to all growth and learning opportunities until our eventual return to Canada.
Editor’s note: Capt. Patrick Rodrigue is a Canadian Flight Nursing officer on exchange with 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron since 2018. Since arriving from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario, Canada, his roles here have included Chief of Standards and Evaluations, Aeromedical Evacuation Crewmember, Flight Nurse, Medical Crew Director, Mission Clinical Coordinator, and Flight Instructor.