By Brian B. Feeney, Ph.D.November 26, 2013
"At its core, caring for wounded Soldiers is about using resilience skills, both for our wounded Soldiers and to keep ourselves strong as the people who are responsible for their care" according to Staff Sgt. Orlando Cooper, squad leader of the 2nd Platoon, the National Capital Region Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) stationed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"Our platoon sergeant and our four squad leaders learned resilience skills from the one-week Cadre Training we received at Joint Base San Antonio when we took on this mission to care for wounded Soldiers. I also went to the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) program's 10-day Master Resilience Trainer course. As an MRT, I give the whole team refresher training every 90 days," he added.
The platoon sergeant and four squad leaders are also known as Cadre. The National Capital Region WTB has four platoons, and each platoon has two nurse case managers, one social worker and one occupational therapist who are Army Civilians, and in some cases contractors. Each platoon has 25 wounded Soldiers to care for at any one time. After the wounded Soldiers receive their initial medical treatment, they are sent to a WTB platoon for long-term recovery. These wounded Soldiers stay with the platoon for a year on average. Their injuries range from severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to multiple amputations to cancer. The Cadre work with them every day, Monday through Friday, and they remain available to the wounded Soldiers by phone and e-mail over the weekend.
"Cadres need to maintain their own resilience so that they can keep up the wounded Soldiers' spirits as they heal and pursue their transition goals," said the platoon sergeant, Sgt. First Class Scott Cormack.
So which resilience skills do the Cadre call on most?
"We need to use resilience skills on a daily basis. Put It In Perspective (identifying the worst, best and most likely outcomes of a situation), Active Constructive Responding (responding to others with active, authentic interest) and Real Time Resilience (shutting down counter-productive thinking) are especially useful for what they are going through," said Cooper. "And some of them have Icebergs (core beliefs or values that fuel out-of-proportion reactions) that could sink the Titanic," added Cooper.
These Cadre go to work acutely aware of the fact that they perform a job that is unique in the Army. They are proud of that fact, and they see resilience skills as an important tool for keeping their performance at the high level that their wounded Soldiers need from them every day.
To learn more about Resilience Training offered by Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, visit http://csf2.army.mil/ or visit the CSF2 Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ArmyCSF2