COLUMBUS, Ohio – Joining the military is a big decision. Many people would say the same thing about the health care profession. However, when registered nurse Brandi Purdy received the Air National Guard’s call in March that she was cleared to swear in, she did not hesitate.
Purdy swore in on April 21 amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and Ohio’s stay-at-home order. She is now a captain with the 121st Air Refueling Wing Medical Group.
The Columbus native received her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Ohio University in 2014 and her master’s from Chamberlain University in 2017. On the civilian side, she works as a nurse practitioner for a private practice.
“I started the process to join the Guard three years ago after receiving my master’s degree,” said Purdy. “I had a desire to put the education, knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years to use and serve on a much larger scale, and what better way to do so than serving my country?”
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the medical practice where Purdy works needed to react quickly while maintaining social distancing. Purdy and a colleague researched and implemented a telemedicine platform so patients could continue to receive care.
“Implementing the telemedicine solution within my practice to provide that continuation of care was very rewarding to me,” said Purdy. “I’m able to talk with patients and concerned family members and provide them with guidance and comfort. I have an extremely high patient volume, so being able to continue their care has been essential.”
Still, Purdy said she’s found it difficult to provide adequate patient education.
“There is a lot we just don’t know yet concerning COVID-19, but what I can do is give patients the information I have, such as explaining the protocols and procedures that have been put forth to protect them and their families, and just be open and honest with them,” she said.
Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been an outpouring of support for health care workers and medical staff. Purdy said that sense of community and support has been vital to her being able to continue care for many of her patients.
“During this pandemic and even before, I don’t think I would be able to adequately care for my patients without the support of the community,” said Purdy. “However, it’s important to understand that even prior to COVID-19, people such as health care workers and National Guard members woke up each day eager to serve and protect others while risking their own health and lives without a second thought. This is what we have educated ourselves to be able to do, and we’re happy to do so.”