Medical Explorers learn communication, teamwork skills
April 17, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Tripler Army Medical Center's Medical Explorer Post 1948 had their first off-site at a litter, or stretcher, obstacle course, here, April 7.
The post, which was officially established at Tripler in January, is designed to help students in grades 9-12 explore medical career paths and options.
"We just want (the students) to have fun and experience what it would be like to go through an obstacle course and put this experience in, what we call, a tool kit," explained Lt. Col. Lozay Foots, director, Medicine Nursing Services, TAMC, and principal advisor for Post 1948.
The students learned about patient movement, or medical evacuations, and the communication and teamwork needed to accomplish medical tasks.
"As Soldiers, we always talk about the battlefield, but (it doesn't make a difference if you are military or civilian), in any type of disaster or emergency situation, (medical professionals) are going to be using litters," said Lt. Col. Todd Briere, chief, Patient Administration Division, and Medical Explorers advisor.
Foots, Briere and other advisors showed the Medical Explorers how to secure a patient in a litter and how to properly use a four-person litter team to move a patient on the ground.
The most important task the four-person team must accomplish is communicating with each other.
"(The explorers) had to learn how to take direction from the lead person on the litter," Foots said. "Everyone on a team needs to work efficiently together and the most important thing is that the four-person team communicates, whether they are going up a hill, over an obstacle, down a trench or crawling, you have to talk."
Nicole Fernandez, a 15-year old sophomore from Radford High School, wants to be a veterinarian. She's thankful her friend told her about the Medical Explorers.
"(The post) gives us a whole bunch of opportunities and learning experiences that we might never encounter on our own," Fernandez said. "(The advisors) help expose us to things (and experiences) we might encounter (in the future)."
Jaime Veldahilog, a 17-year old student who is home-schooled, agrees that the skills the Medical Explorers are learning will be beneficial in the future.
The (obstacle course) activity focused on teamwork," Veldahilog said. "You can't do any job without teamwork and that is what everything in Medical Explorers helps prepare (us) for."
The post benefits more than just the students, however. Sgt. 1st Class Avery Fergerstom, patient administration specialist, Patient Administration Division, said he volunteered because he wants to motivate younger generations to find the career path that is best for them.
"Not only do I get to motivate some young adults and help define (possible) career paths in their future, but we get to have fun and I was able to teach them about leadership and teamwork," Fergerstrom said. "It is also nice to let the students see a little bit about what the military does when we are not at war."
Are you a high school student on Oahu interested in a career in the medical field? The Medical Explorer Post meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. in TAMC's Kyser Auditorium and the application fee is $10. For more information or to join the Medical Explorers Post 1948, call 808-433-5122.