Virginia National Guard Medics Tackle Sustainment Training
US Army | 2023-02-14
FORT PICKETT, VA.: The Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command hosted combat medics from across the state for sustainment training Jan. 22-28 at Fort Pickett.
The course, typically held twice annually, incorporates classroom and practical training and evaluated simulated care in both medical and trauma scenarios. The sustainment course is necessary for the VNG’s combat medics to retain their 68W military occupational specialty and must be completed every two years.
“The course makes sure medics are up to date with current Army medical practices,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Dan Noel, the course coordinator. “This course also verifies that medics are competent in their skills for both trauma and medical scenarios.”
“It went over a lot of the basics that you don’t really deal with too much, especially as a headquarters medic,” said Spc. Uiguria Kutlan, a medic assigned to the 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “You get a lot of sick call patients with ouchies and boo-boos, but we don’t have too many traumatic casualties, so it’s been a great refresher.”
For recertification, 68W Soldiers must complete two medical and two trauma scenarios. The Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable kit, or TC3X, is used to simulate a real trauma situation. The TC3X is a realistic, animatronic simulated trauma patient remotely operated by an instructor and capable of bleeding, breathing and moving. For this course, the TC3X simulated a full amputation in one scenario and a sucking chest wound in the other.
“Instructors give the students didactic lessons, but the most valuable is when the students get to practice their hands-on skills that they may not have used frequently,” said Noel. “The use of advanced mannequins that can bleed, stop breathing, and thrash around has greatly helped with this training.”
Thirty students completed the training, learning not only from instructors but from each other.
“Medical Command’s hope is that students will walk away having learned something from the course and share that information with other medics in their unit,” said Noel. “There are also many Soldiers that practice EMT on the civilian side, and by networking, medics can also learn skills from their peers.”
Part of that learning involves staying up to date with the latest medical advancements.
“I think this course is important because every year, every day, things update. There’s new medical technology being invented,” said Kutlan. “I think it’s really good to have these courses every once in a while.”
That continuous learning is vital for medics.
“Simply put, they save lives. A medic is the first echelon of care in an accident, trauma or medical scene,” Noel said. “The medic must think quickly as to who needs treatment first, what needs to be done, and how we can safely transport a patient out of the hostile environment. Medics learn CPR and other lifesaving techniques that can be used not just in a battle situation but also in training scenarios.”
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