NASHUA, H.H. - A new training program brought Army Reserve medical Soldiers to the Radisson Nashua Convention Center for their combat medic sustainment training.

Held in conjunction with the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses' (NFLPN) convention, healthcare specialists (68W) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs, 68W-M6) gathered to receive part of their mandatory, bi-annual medical training in October.

The 2009 68W sustainment conference is the second iteration of a new program to train medics with 28 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) during their four-day event. By condensing the training into one conference, commanders get re-certified Soldiers without losing multiple battle assemble training periods.

"Our main goal is to re-certify as many Army Reserve medics as we can," said Sgt. Maj. Michael Robinson, the event organizer. "But one of the added benefits that we are providing is time. Time for commanders to utilize their Soldiers for other mission requirements," he added.

According to Staff Sgt. Joellan Schroeder, the conference is also benefiting first line leaders.

"I'm a platoon sergeant, so I have a lot of administrative things to do (at battle assemble)," she said. "My time is valuable. This conference is an excellent way for me to get my CEUs done without effecting my weekend drill time," she said.

The inaugural 68W sustainment conference was held in October 2008. It was first the time Army Reserve medical personnel attended the NFLPN convention while receiving their medical training.

Robinson, part of the Army Reserve Medical Command's Medical Readiness Training Command, organized the conference to coincided NFLPN event.

"Enlisted medical Soldiers never had their own training conference, like officers do, to pass on information and network," he said. "This event lets them mingle with their fellow medics and their contemporaries in the civilian field."

Spc. Barbara Snow, a civilian emergency room medical technician at Nellis Air force base in Nevada, personally benefited from a joint conference with the NFLPN.

"They (the nurses) are a wealth of knowledge for us," she said. They can give me information on injury trends that I wouldn't think to look for."

Combat medics are required 72-hours of refresher training bi-annually. The training is a continuing education requirement for the Emergency Medical Training Basic (EMT-B) course they initially qualified in for the Army.

The Nashua sustainment conference featured training focused on tactical medical care, medical education and individual competence testing.

Soldiers trained on a wide variety of tasks including bleeding control, tourniquet application, emergency bandaging, amputation treatment and applying splints amongst others.

They used Advanced Life Support (ALS) simulators to practice many of the tasks they trained on. These technologically advanced mannequins emulate many body functions vital for realistic training.

The conference attracted others from the Army medical community who wanted to mirror its set up.

Mr. Luciano "Lucky" Valero from the Regional Training Site Medical (RTS-MED), Camp Parks, was one of those in attendance.

"Our goal in the RTS Camp Parks, and all RTS-MED, is to establish a sustainment program for the LVNs," he said. "This is the only conference that I know of that offers the LVN sustainment training," he added. "I am excited to witness this program so I can see where I can help."

The conference also offered attendees the opportunity to test their skills against one another in competition. The 1st annual medical simulation warrior competition was set up in the convention center parking lot. Planners utilized the ALS simulators to present competitors with various medical traumas. Soldiers were judged on their expertise dealing with care under fire and tactical field care.

"We do not have any competitions at the RST," said Valero. "It is a good morale booster within the LVN, combat medic community to get the Soldiers more recognition (amongst their peers)," he added.

At the end of the conference, event winners walked away with trophies and bragging rights among their fellow medics. But the real winners were the medical commanders around the country who are getting their Soldiers back, with half of their bi-annual sustainment training completed at no cost to them.

The Human Resource Command picked up the tab for Soldiers to attend the five-day event.

For information on the next conference, contact Sgt. Maj. Michael Robinson at michael.w.robinson1@us.army.mil or 269-598-5384.


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Also contributing to this article was Sgt. Kirk Bell.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16