HM A' School Instructors Gain New Certification

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Story by PO1 Jacquelyn Childs on 04/17/2017
SAN ANTONIO Hospital Corps "A" School instructors completed two weeks of "Train the Trainer" Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training in a final exercise April 12 at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on board Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

It was the latest step in significant changes coming to Hospital Corpsman (HM) training announced March 29 by Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, the Navy surgeon general, while speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee about Navy Medicine's most important priority readiness.

Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC) hosted several TCCC instructors from Navy Expeditionary Medical Training Institute (NEMTI) Camp Pendleton, Calif. The NEMTI team qualified 31 of the instructors as TCCC trainers. An additional 10 were certified to as "Train the Trainer" instructors, allowing NMTSC to maintain its own internal TCCC certification program.

"TCCC training is being implemented into the new Hospital Corps School curriculum beginning in July, so we're here to do our part to help the school launch their program off the ground," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Clayton H. Clark, one of the NEMTI instructors.

The instructors who went through the course are all Basic Medical Technician and Corpsman Program (BMTCP) instructors, which is the current HM A' School. As Faison said during his congressional testimony, TCCC will play a role in that change.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Rangel, one of NMTSC's TCCC program managers who earned the train-the-trainer certification, said TCCC is important because of the multiple injury types corpsmen must be prepared to treat.

"It's multi-factorial in the sense that we're constantly in conflicts, so we're going to need this training in the fleet," said Rangel. "And it's also used as a culminating exercise at the end of Corps School where they're going to have the ability to put all the things they learned through the curriculum into practice."

The TCCC portion will be at the very end of A' School just prior to clinical practice and graduation, allowing students to gain the knowledge they need to succeed in the fleet and in the final exercise of their TCCC skills.

"The new [HM A' School] curriculum will build the student's foundation of medical knowledge so that by the time they hit TCCC, the instructors will build upon that knowledge and challenge them to apply the knowledge and skills in a different environment," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Carlos Aguon, the other TCCC program manager at NMTSC.

Other benefits include increasing Navy Medicine readiness overall and reducing man-hours spent teaching TCCC at the Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and other gaining commands.

TCCC has long been a training requirement for Hospital Corpsmen in field medicine and, according to NEMTI, it has plays a role in the drastic decrease in combat casualties that Faison described to congress. This is the first time the training has been implemented as part of A' School and will serve to better prepare basic corpsmen.

"I think this will benefit them because this will be what they actually may see when they get to the fleet," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Diane Spearman, a BMTCP instructor who went through the TCCC course. "Yes, right now, we all need to know emergency medicine, but at the same time, you need to know what you need to do when you get to your Marines or your Seabees, and you need to save them when things are hitting the fan and you have to react accordingly."

The course will last four days with a test and final exercise. During the final exercise, students will be tested on their ability to provide immediate medical assistance to patients in a simulated combat environment and get them to a higher level of care as needed.

The instructors who went through the course over the past two weeks all agreed they learned a lot while having a good time.

"Doing this for about 15 years, it's pretty humbling," said Aguon. "We all know medicine, and most of us have treated some kind of traumatic patient whether in combat, in a hospital, or with an expeditionary unit. But every time you go through this type of scenario, your skills are always tested because you don't know what kind of patient you're going to come across until you're actually there."

Spearman added, "I think the whole group did great. We had a lot of fun. It definitely gave us a reminder of back when we were learning this when we were E-3s. It definitely is a great way to remind yourself that you're not perfect. You still need some practice."

The newly certified TCCC train-the-trainer instructors at NMTSC will continue running BMTCP instructors through the TCCC course in preparation for the implementation of the new A' School scheduled to start in July.

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