Joint Training Enhances Military Medical Education

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Capt. Brittney Snider, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron clinical nurse, reviews patient information at Naval Medical Center San Diego’s intensive care unit as part of joint training with their Navy counterparts.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Luke Cunningham
  • Naval Medical Center San Diego is one of the two main annual tour opportunities for hands-on medical training
  • The 19 training participants assisted in the intensive care unit, emergency department, post-anesthesia care unit, pediatrics, simulation training lab and patient administration.

A group of 19 Airmen from the U.S. Air Force 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron – consisting of nurses, medical technicians and medical administration specialists – arrived in San Diego, California, to perform their two-week annual training at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD).

NMCSD is a 268-bed, multi-specialty hospital and ambulatory complex. The hospital is part of the Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command, and is the U.S. Navy’s largest West Coast hospital, according to NMCSD officials. The 19 annual training participants from the 445 ASTS assisted in the intensive care unit, emergency department, post-anesthesia care unit, pediatrics, simulation training lab and patient administration.

To remain current and maintain their readiness as reservists, the medical Airmen have training requirements, or comprehensive medical readiness program (CMRPs), that must be signed off on annually.

“We have two main annual tour opportunities that offer hands-on training for our medical folks and the slots are very limited due to COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Kathy Miller, 445 ASTS mission officer. “We are very fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Senior Airman Bhishma Desai, medical technician in 445th ASTS, is not only able to complete annual training, but crossing off many of the requirements needed for upgrade training to advance to the next skill level for his job. Three other Airmen on this tour are also receiving invaluable instruction in their upgrade training.

“This is a great experience because there are a lot of hands-on training opportunities. Transitioning from what we do in staging to in-house to patient care is very beneficial,” said Desai. “I came back from tech school last year, and this is a great opportunity to get a lot of stuff signed off.  I received a lot of pointers on doing IVs and EKGs [electrocardiogram]--things I rarely get to do.”

Another unique characteristic of this training opportunity is the chance to work with another service in joint operations. The Navy’s hospital corpsmen are working hand-in-hand with the Airmen, helping them to gain useful training and experiences outside of their usual environment.

Five Airmen from ASTS’ medical administration also received valuable experience by assisting NMCSD with digitizing more than two million records.

While these medical administrators learn to do all of these things in their career field’s technical training, being at a staging squadron, it is not the same as handling the massive amount of information that the hospital processes.

“The tasks we do in our unit is a little more admin focused since we are not in a medical treatment facility, not in a hospital environment. Now we have the opportunity to understand death packages, inpatient and outpatient records, and patient records requests. All of these things are adding up and giving us a clearer picture,” said Staff Sgt. Ramello Rhodes, 445th ASTS health service management journeyman. “The Sailors here have been really good advocates to get us exposure and training with all of these different record sections.”

In operational environments, aeromedical staging squadrons often work in partnership with other branches, including the Navy, so joint training like this ensures seamless integration and mission success.


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