JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
During National Nurse and Medical Technician Week we spotlight 1st Lt. Edward Antonio, a member of the 11th Medical Group who has worked as a registered nurse at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Clinic, for over two years.
As a clinic nurse, Antonio assesses and triages a high volume of patients, both in the clinic and via telephone and e-messaging. When a patient comes in with an acute condition, he works with the on-call team to stabilize the patient, starting an intravenous line and obtaining an EKG as needed. He prepares and administers medications as ordered by the provider and also assists with medical procedures. He educates patients about their medical condition and helps formulate a plan of care. He also spends time training medical technicians to help them increase their proficiency in basic medical readiness skills.
Antonio was born in the Philippines. His late grandfather petitioned for him and his mother to come to the United States in mid-1980 and they received approval to emigrate in May 2001. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at the University of Alaska Southeast and then joined the Alaska Army National Guard in 2006 as a combat medic.
While on a mission to Iraq in April 2008, he watched critically wounded warriors being airlifted out of the war zone onto a C-17 by Air Force nurses and medical technicians. This inspired him to want to serve in a greater capacity as a nurse in the Air Force.
“I was motivated to serve in the military to give back to a country that provided me with many opportunities to pursue my dreams,” Antonio said. “I wanted to build a legacy of service for my children and family to be proud of.”
“I specifically wanted to become a nurse to help patients, especially those who are most vulnerable,” he added. “Nursing was more of a calling, than a job. While in Iraq, I prayed to be kept safe and promised, in return, to help others. I thought nursing was a way to fulfill that promise.”
Antonio deployed to Mongolia in 2010 and was the sole work site medial provider for two engineering companies and Mongolian civilian workers. In 2011, with tremendous support and love from his wife, Jen and his daughter, Zarrah, he left Alaska and travelled to Tennessee to pursue an accelerated bachelor's degree in nursing at Union University. He graduated in May 2013 and worked as a registered nurse in Gallatin, Tennessee in the emergency room and on a medical/surgery telemetry unit.
Antonio was commissioned as an officer in May 2015 and attended officer training, at Maxwell Air Force Base. While everyone who joined the military in his family served in the Army, he was the first one to be commissioned as an officer in the Air Force.
“I would tell anyone thinking about joining the military service and nursing, in particular, that it will be one of the most thrilling decisions you ever make,” Antonio explained. “Nursing provides the opportunity to try many different specialties and roles and you touch people at various stages in their lives. Patients may not remember your name, but they will remember the care they received from you.”
On the job, he wants to continue to improve his communication skills.
“I tend to speak very fast and my Filipino accent can be hard to understand at times,” he said.
Antonio describes himself as resilient.
“It’s been a long road from being an immigrant who dreamed of finishing college, to serving the country during time of war," he said. "And to finally become a nurse and officer - it is a tremendous honor.”