Sustainment Training and Continuing Education

Due Outs are issues that we have identified without complete or perfect answers. This is our attempt to crowd source ideas and solutions from as many different perspectives as possible.  If you are a medic, this is your opportunity to speak up and let your surgeons or director know what could work for you.  If you are a provider and have had success with something, please let us know.  Our medics are asking for this.  One of the problems discussed during different conversations was engaging and educating medics, in Prolonged Field Care topics, who already have an overflowing plate or who may be deployed or busy with other training requirements. One thing we tried at our own unit was that of the working lunch discussion.  Many medics voiced concern because they could not even make it to a quick weekly lunch session. Another idea was that of a weekly email quiz.

A periodic case study, real or hypothetical, with discussion questions may work as well.  Video AARs with a link to a discussion thread might work if you had a decent internet connection.  With all the junk in my inbox everyday, I feel it would be refreshing to see something relevant and useful.  It would be great to see as much cross agency and unit participation as possible.  Volunteers??? Please throw your ideas out there and let’s see what sticks!

5 thoughts on “Sustainment Training and Continuing Education”

  1. I’m at Lejeune and what we’re trying to initiate is company-level training developed by the battalion medical staff. We’re hoping to initiate a 2-4 day exercise (half didactic/ half scenario play) that we can give to the company medics prior to their graded company exercises.

    The main reason we’re moving in this direction is that their needs to be a standard of care for PFC that we’re bringing all of our guys to, not just the dissemination of great knowledge. A battalion-led PFC exercise not only ensures the medics are exposed to the same level of barebones PFC knowledge, it also gives the Battalion Surgeon the opportunity to see his dudes making strong clinical-based decisions in the midst of a patient scenario. If we can, at the minimum, provide a baseline of PFC training, then the advancement of their knowledge would only accelerate with weekly emails/discussion questions.

    This website has helped a ton in the development of this idea. Thanks for the great info, guys!

  2. Pete,

    Recommend you use the PFC Capabilities position paper and focus on the big 10. When you look at this, you’ll see where your guys are strong and where they need work. Base your didactic training on getting them up to the basic level on each capability first. This will give you a solid basis for moving forward.

    Stated another way, if you guys can’t take and trend vitals, or do fundamental nursing skills, they’ll be lost when facing a scenario that runs beyond TCCC. TCCC saves lives but it’s a protocol we run from rote memory. PFC scenarios have the time to take a step back and develop a treatment plan. If the guys have the tools in the toolbox (basic capabilities), they then have a solid foundation to execute PFC, sometimes with close guidance from telemedicine. We call it the Apollo 13 scenario when, in the movie, the scrubber went out and mission control on earth had to gather and provide guidance to the spacecraft. If each side knows what the other side has for capabilities and equipment, they can manage the situation together.

    Best of luck and send your feedback. I think the PFC Training guideline published March, 15 will help you, too.

    Doc Keenan

    1. Doc Keenan,

      Thanks for the direction with this. It looks like our plan will be to develop classes per the individual capabilities. I want the classes to be focused on clinical pearls instead of readdressing the basic procedures that everyone learns in the school house.

      Does anyone know if there are classes like this already in circulation that I’m not privy to? I’d hate to reinvent the wheel.


  3. Another direction I might suggest is focusing on the planning and logistical aspects of PFC. Speaking only to my own observations, a common training failure is not anticipating the amount of supplies required to care for a patient for 24-72 hours, such as only having 1 or 2 boxes of gloves, or only 15 hard needles for meds.

    Additionally, especially for SOF evacuations, using non-standard vehicles and routes, or needing to anticipate how to pack out boxes for modular response, or paperwork necessary for cross-border movement.

    An example from my last trip was that the range was 45 minutes from the aid station. The nearest hospital with surgical capabilities was a 90 minutes in the opposite direction, and depending on severity might have required evacuation across international borders. So how does the medic need to pack to anticipate potentially not returning to the aid station after point of injury or to have necessary documents to cross borders? How is hand off to a foreign civilian aeromedical asset performed and can the medics ride along? What level of cross-training is necessary for the medic to comfortably leave in a teammates care while they initiate a rest plan?

    Looking at SOCMSSC and JRTC rotations, medically, the medics are on point, and their issues are underestimating the intensity of resources and effort for care of that duration.

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