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Navy's Newest HMs Begin Training Under New SG Initiative

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GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Students from the Navy's first graduating class students under the new Hospital Corps "A" School curriculum began follow-on training Oct. 16 under a new Navy Surgeon General (SG) initiative, the Hospital Corpsman (HM) Clinical Trauma Experience Proof of Concept course.

The HM "A" School class began under the new curriculum in July at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston (JBSA-FSH), Texas, graduating Oct. 13. 

The Navy's newest HMs will now study and practice in-patient/out-patient clinic and trauma care, honing skills learned in "A" school, said Chief Hospital Corpsman Yesenia Minaya, who led the Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command (NMETLC) working group that wrote the curriculum and designed the course.

"It's a combination of inpatient/outpatient and trauma training with the ultimate goal being trauma care," said Minaya, one of 10 officer and enlisted instructors representing multiple specialties from commands across Navy Medicine. "The course is 12 weeks and includes classroom, medical simulation and hands-on clinical training."

The training is a combined effort that aligns with Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison's priority of partnerships. The training partnership is between Navy Medicine, the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA), and James H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, a level-one trauma center in Chicago, Illinois, referred to as "Cook County." 

Six weeks of classes and in-patient/out-patient clinical training are being conducted at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) located near Naval Training Center (NTC) Great Lakes, Illinois. Six weeks of trauma training will happen at Cook County.

The program is one Navy Medicine is considering in an effort to prepare and sustain corpsmen medically ready during a period of decreased conflict, said Lt. Elisha Gowen, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) charge nurse at Naval Hospital Guam and a course instructor. 

"It also provides an opportunity for brand new corpsmen to become more familiar with basic inpatient procedures and trauma situations to better prepare them before arriving at their first duty station," Gowen said.

The course is one of several hospital corps training programs developed by NMETLC in response to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson's competence and character priorities that include achieving the best possible performance through learning. The program also responds to Faison's second readiness goal to achieve maximum future life-saving capabilities and survivability along the continuum of care through training and educational programs. 

Cmdr. Shawn Passons, an ICU, Emergency and Flight Nurse, and an Adult Education and Training Specialist at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) in Falls Church, Virginia, said the SG's overarching vision is to provide ready medical personnel. She said that vision will be made stronger with this concept.

"The Surgeon General's HM Clinical Trauma Experience Proof of Concept is an excellent opportunity to ensure our corpsmen are provided with experiences they can use to build a strong medical foundation, resilience, and enhanced knowledge and expectations in trauma situations," Passons said. 

A course instructor, Passons called the instructor training team "unique" with each having "personal knowledge and experience of trauma situations that they can capitalize on to help shape and mold the students to a level that has not previously been seen from 'A' school graduates."

The program has significant potential to provide critical skills training in both a controlled simulation environment and in a trauma environment while still in a training status, said Lt. Cmdr. Autumn Riddell, an ER (Emergency Room)/Trauma Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), Virginia, and a course instructor.

"Part of my role as a CNS is to manage the Hospital Corpsman Orientation Program for the Emergency Department at NMCP," Riddell said. "The corpsmen graduating from this Clinical Trauma Experience Proof of Concept course will be afforded some amazing opportunities to get these hands-on experiences that will help ensure they are ready to provide efficient care when they report to their first duty station. They will already have been exposed to patient care and will have had the opportunity to work on their critical skills such as patient assessments, IV starts, blood draws, EKG's, etcetera." 

While FHCC training will focus on hospital in-patient/out-patient clinical skills, the experience at Cook County will emphasize the importance of teamwork in medicine and give students their first experience treating injuries similar to what they will see in combat, said Lt. Cmdr. Corey Fancher, a Navy nurse with a subspecialty in ER medicine, who is the patient safety manager at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point, North Carolina. 

"They will learn early whether they are equipped to handle that level of trauma and learn to over-come fear and hesitation not uncommon to individuals the first time they care for a trauma patient," said Fancher, a course instructor who deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Inherit Resolve.

All 10 instructors share a passion for quality patient care, they are enthused and motivated by the opportunity to help prepare the next generation of hospital corpsmen, and each is visibly excited to be a part of the SG's initiative.

"We're helping pave the way for the future of the hospital corps," said Minaya. "It is extremely humbling. We have a dynamic group of instructors. Together we will ensure the students capitalize on their training and clinical experience to help set them up for success in clinical and trauma settings." 

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