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Sick Call Screeners Simulation Course: Sharpening the Blade of Medical Knowledge

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MARCOA Media
Story by Macy Hinds on 08/07/2019
On Friday, August 2, 2019, 14 Hospital Corpsman assigned to Navy Health Clinic Hawaii completed the Sick Call Screeners Simulation Course. The week-long, hands-on simulation course was held at Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) Simulation Center.

The course was designed to broaden Hospital Corpsman's knowledge, enabling them to provide care for minor medical conditions both on shore and at sea. The course instructor, Petty Officer First Class Michael Lejeune, Lead Petty Officer for Makalapa Branch Health Clinic assigned to Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, explains, "The purpose of the course was to improve access to primary care for active duty {by} actively training Hospital Corpsmen for service within operational units. This gave them the ability to identify medical conditions that require next echelon of care as well as routine clinical services on a deployed platform."

Before engaging in simulation training, students participated in classroom-style learning. They received a refresher on anatomy and physiology, medical diagnosis, and treatment with diagnostic tools and clinic examinations.

The group studied a total of "12 sections that outlined routine medical concerns as well as underlining medical emergencies," Lejeune elaborated. Along the way, students took detailed examinations to test their understanding and comprehension of the course topics.

After a week of classroom-based training, the final day was dedicated to testing the skills and knowledge they acquired over the course of the week. "We executed four simulations, utilizing the sim center at TAMC," explained Lejeune. "This gave students the ability to autonomously obtain effective medical history, pertinent information that can contribute to a medical diagnosis, and proficiency in hands-on clinical examinations; all while understanding the mechanics of the ailment and ultimately treating their patient in an effective and safe manner."

The simulations were popular among students as well. "The simulation lab is really cool," said HN Kyla Johansen, Hospital Corpsman assigned to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, HI. "You can treat a mannequin in extreme pain as practice before dealing with a real patient."

Students were split into groups of four or five to cycle through the simulation lab. Meanwhile, the other groups continued to review course materials while awaiting their turn. After completing the simulation lab portion, the group received a play-by-play debrief from the instructor. Lejeune reviewed what went well, what didn't, and whether or not they correctly diagnosed the patient by going over the recording on a screen.

Learning from one another's experiences is beneficial to developing strong Hospital Corpsman.

The "Sick Call Screeners Course is a great opportunity to teach and share experiences on deployed platforms," said Lejeune. "The program strengthens HMs (Hospital Corpsman) by sharing information and sharpening the blade of medical knowledge'."

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