By Marcy SanchezDecember 7, 2018
Each year, William Beaumont Army Medical Center holds a medical conference to discuss latest initiatives across its health care footprint, which spans from West Texas to Southern New Mexico.
The conference also offers health care professionals the opportunity for Continuing Medical Education (CME) to maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas in medicine and WBAMC.
This year's conference welcomed retired Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, 42nd Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and former commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, and retired Maj. Gen. Carla Hawley-Bowland, former WBAMC commander (2000-2002) and first female physician general officer in the Army.
"(I want) to encourage people who have talent as senior managers and leaders," said Schoomaker, who is now the director of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Leader and Leadership Education and Development Program (USU LEAD). "Soldiers should not pass up the opportunity to lead well and step in to these important roles at this time in the history of WBAMC."
WBAMC health care providers are required to obtain 50 CME credits to remain credentialed at the hospital, with opportunities available both in-house and through medical conferences abroad. During the conference the importance of leadership in clinical settings was highlighted.
"Both our keynote speakers are general officers and physicians, so we get leaders in the Army and leaders in medicine during the conference," said Maj. Bin Wang, chief of Nuclear Medicine and director of Continuing Medical Education at WBAMC. "It's a good day for a lot of medical staff and support staff to optimize training."
Schoomaker, a practicing hematologist, discussed the impact good leaders may have on an organization and the consequences of challenging oneself.
"Leaders create vision, inspire others and help those they are leading remove obstacles to get to their objectives, that's what leaders do," said Schoomaker, who headed the Army's Medical Command from 2007-2011. "Every doctor, nurse, (physical therapist), (orthopedic) technician, is concerned whatever they came into medicine to do is going to be lost if they take on other challenges (roles). Humans are made to be challenged, to take calculated risks. You can't do that if you stay in a role you're comfortable in."
The event also included discussions on physician self-care, patient safety and experiences, medical ethics and appropriate contracting actions in medical settings. In an overview of current efforts designed to meet Regional Health Command-Central initiatives, which oversees WBAMC operations, WBAMC's Simulation Center performed a simulated burn casualty scenario with an emphasis on current available forward-thinking capabilities to train health care staff in practices different from normal operations. The scenario, and others like it, will support RHC-C's Individual Critical Task List (ICTL), an emphasis to measure wartime clinical readiness of health care providers to better support battlefield medicine.
According to Wang, the conference also served to remind health care professionals to think about their own mental and physical wellbeing, a focus of Hawley-Bowland's speech.
"If the audience can get some pointers from the presenters who have vast experience not just in the military but in the medical field, they can improve their patient care and their own care," said Wang.
Over 450 health care professionals attended the conference, an event coordinated by WBAMC staff members: Lt. Col. Eric Weber, acting chief medical officer, Oralia Nido, CME coordinator, John Duggan, audio/visual technician, and Anna Stewart, executive assistant to WBAMC commander.
"What we do in our hospitals every day is a live-fire exercise," said Schoomaker. "That's what we do as caregivers."