NS Newport Community
Corpsman Capabilities: GW Sailors Take Part in Corpsman Skills Day
Story by PO3 Carter Denton on 06/17/2019
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (June 4, 2019) The fourth annual Corpsman Skills Day was held at the Adm. Joel T. Boone Branch Health Clinic on Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Fort Story, May 31. The annual training event brings together hospital corpsmen (HM) from the Hampton Roads area together in order to practice their professional skills in an interactive training environment.
Sailors assigned to the medical department of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) took part in the 2019 version of the event.
The event consisted of 10 teams rotating through hands-on training stations where instructors monitored participants’ response to different medical emergency situations. They were trained to triage and treat patients in both shore and shipboard environments.
“It’s just an overall good time to get the corpsmen to go out there and test their skill level,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nichole England, an event facilitator assigned to the George Washington. “They work hard and train the ship’s crew every day, so this is a chance for them to practice what they’re training others to do.”
George Washington is undergoing refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipyard, which includes refueling of the ship’s two nuclear reactors, as well as significant repair, upgrades and modernization. Regardless of where the ship is in its lifecycle, however, Hospital Corpsmen remain ready to respond and provide care for a wide array of situations.
“We’re in the yards right now, so we don’t get to use these skills every day, but these things can still happen,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cristen Glass, the George Washington medical team lead. “I hope everyone is able to have fun and learn a little bit. Hopefully we can bring these skills so when these situations do arise we’ll have an idea of how it’s supposed to be run.”
Training of the ship’s crew is an important aspect of George Washington’s mission while in the shipyards. Effective and extensive training ensured that the crew is prepared when the ship returns to active service.
“It’s important to get people out of their day jobs sometimes, because, as corpsmen, we can end up assigned to a ship in the shipyard like we are, or a clinic like we’re at today, but there’s more out there that you’re expected to be able to respond to like emergency response and the tactical aspect of our job,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman David Long, an event facilitator assigned to the George Washington. “So events like this are really important to remind people that their current day job isn’t everything.”
The event was meant to represent real world scenarios that the corpsmen may find themselves in.
“Most of the corpsmen that work here at the clinic will go operational when they complete their tour here, so giving them a training opportunity like this for them to get some realistic training is important to get them in the mindset of what they’re all about and what it means to be a corpsman,” said Cmdr. Dawn Freeman, the officer-in-charge of the Adm. Joel T. Boone Branch Health Clinic.
Training events such as this are not only important for George Washington corpsmen, but the entire ship’s crew.
“The corpsmen are the subject matter experts, but most of these skills that we’re demonstrating out here today are [Department of Defense]-mandated individual skills for all service members,” said Long. “Everybody needs to know how to be a first responder, because it’s rare that a corpsman is going to be the first one on the scene.”
Training is always available for Sailors that are willing to seek it out.
“If Sailors are interested, come down to medical and get a qualification,” said Long. “Join the Medical Training Team or the Damage Control Training Team to be a part of the teams that train the crew how to respond to emergencies.”
Training events like the annual Corpsman Skills Day help ensure the operational readiness of the George Washington crew. George Washington’s medical department will now be able to pass along the knowledge learned from this realistic training event to their shipmates.