VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
More than 20 Virginia Army National Guard combat medics conducted refresher training Jan. 25-29, 2022, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Presented by the Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command, the five-day course included classroom and hands-on instruction, followed by a culminating medical assessment and trauma lane.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Dan Noel, Medical Command operations NCO, each combat medic is a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. As a result, they are required to recertify every two years. This training helps with that.
“The goal is to make sure medics do not lose their skills and are prepared for CONUS [Continental United States] and OCONUS [Outside Continental United States] deployments,” Noel said. “In addition, medics are taught the most current Tactical Combat Casualty Care so that they are familiar with the injuries and scenarios they might see on a battlefield.”
Each medic is required to complete 72 hours of continuing education to remain certified and in order to help Soldiers meet these requirements, MEDCOM conducts two sustainment courses during each training year. The courses provide medics 48 continuing education hours and their skills validation towards their recertification.
The other required 24 CEs can be achieved through online courses the Combat Medic Sustainment Division has approved. If the Soldier works in the civilian medical field, they can earn CEs from their civilian position.
But in order to gain these hours, Soldiers must show they possess the knowledge and skills needed to provide medical care in a stressful environment. As a result, this course is not a “check the box” type of course.
“It helps develop, implement and validate the training that the medic has already received,” Noel said. “The instructors utilize their real-world experiences to help train and educate the medics that come through MEDCOM’s course. Also many of the students have civilian jobs as an emergency medical technician or nurse so they can offer feedback that is helpful to the class.
“The curriculum is based on identification and treatment of trauma, airway, IV access and medication administration, triage and evacuation, force health protection, obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics,” explained Capt. Matthew Graupman, officer in charge of the training.
Trainers used the new Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable system, a computer-controlled mannequin that can move, bleed, breath and simulate a multitude of combat wounds, giving the user a realistic wound care experience.
“Using training aids, such as the TC3X mannequins, help medics see what wounds they may face and how to treat those wounds in an austere environment,” Noel explained.
The Soldiers in this class came from a variety of backgrounds, according Graupman. This includes paramedics, a registered nurse and a cardiac catheterization lab technologist.
“We had a good diverse group of students that had a mixture of experiences ranging from hospital or clinical settings to paramedics to folks who don't do medical stuff outside of the Guard,” said Sgt. Charles Wohlrab, non commissioned officer in charge of the training. “Those who had experience were not hesitant to share what they knew or how they handled things that they have come across during their careers.”