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Home News USU medical students test knowledge during combat exercise

USU medical students test knowledge during combat exercise

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The woods near the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) have been turned into a simulated battlefield as second-year medical students complete the Advanced Combat Medical Experience. (ACME).





The first round of students started the course the week of July 25, where they not only went through the course, but learned how to become teaching assistants for their peers who are set to go through the course beginning Aug. 8.

This is the third year that the ACME course has been offered and it’s designed to test the medical student’s knowledge received during their first year of school and have them practice in a combat scenario.

“The main point of the course is we’re trying to teach tactical combat casualty care, which is battlefield medicine,” said USU Assistant Professor Dr. Craig Goolsby, the ACME course director. “We’re trying to teach things that are necessary to make that successful – how to communicate in high-stress, high-stakes environments, how to do the medical procedures and interventions necessary to save soldiers’ lives on the battlefield.”

The medical students came under fire, returned fire and provided basic medical interventions to a couple of critically wounded service members.

“I think we did a good job of communicating – closed-loop communication,” said Army 2nd Lt. Ford Lannan. “I think we did a good job of communicating back and forth, distributing the tasks up.”

He worked with Navy Ensign Kayla Torrez Chang as they treated an individual with a blast injury.

“There was a couple of skills that we need to continue practicing and working on, but overall for our first run, I think we rocked it,” Lannan said.

Torrez Chang said she thought they did really well communicating with each other.

“I’ve been in other groups that weren’t assigned as teams, and they did not communicate nearly as well so it’s really good that we kind of meshed and were all on the same sheet of music, so that helped,” she said.

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Terry Lonnergan, an instructor observer, reviewed how the teams did after completing the scenario, which he said they did fairly well for their first time.

“This is about being systematic in your approach to somebody who is massively injured,” he said. “In that system there are about six or eight things that you want to do in a certain order to keep somebody alive to get them to the hospital. This is about field care.”

While he said the students did well in the exercise, he noted that there is always room to improve. A lot of it, he said, is “seeing it 1,000 times.”

“A lot of it is experience, repetition and recognizing the patterns that you see in injured folks,” Lonnergan said. “So I think that’s what they can do better and that’s why we’re doing this. It’s recognizing patterns and making it automatic.”

The 24 students preparing to become teaching assistants not only complete the course, but also learn how to become a teacher by taking extra courses such as adult education theory.

“By doing all of this and having a more intensive experience than the regular student class will, we are getting them ready to help teach their peers,” Goolsby said.

Another part of the course takes place in the classroom where Wounded Warriors relate their experiences being treated while injured on the battlefield.

“I think that this is one of the things that makes USU a truly unique medical school,” Goolsby said. “Our students learn all the same things they learn at any other medical school, but they also get to practice battlefield medicine and develop that culture of being a military medical officer.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.


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