FORT DRUM, New York - Nurses and medics from the Bowe and Connor Troop Medical Clinics at Fort Drum, New York came together April 10 and 17 to participate in the newly revamped Nursing Skills Fair to conduct hands-on training on specific nursing and medic tasks.

The redesigned two-day event has taken the place of the traditional Nursing Skills Fair which took place at the Guthrie clinic twice a year. The new program is designed to ensure training is specialized, relevant and convenient for the attendees as opposed to being broader, covering areas some medical professionals may not require.

"This is important training because it refreshes those skills that are used in the clinic on a daily basis," said Dr. Morgan Krump, the Fort Drum Medical Activity (MEDDAC) chief of health education and training. "It's replacing the older skills fair method after it was determined training was not relevant or convenient for many of the attendees. So now we are going to different sections to conduct relevant training to their section at a time that is convenient for them."

During the training, dozens of nurses and medics from the Bowe and Connor TMCs received hands-on refresher training on how to correctly obtain a patient's blood pressure, administer vaccinations and various other medical tasks specific to those in attendance.

For Sgt. Timothy Keene, a Connor TMC healthcare specialist from 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), maintaining skills such as administering vaccinations and taking manual blood pressure are vital for his medics, especially those coming from one of the 10th Mtn. Div. units to work in one of the TMCs.

"We're (doing these things) every day and there isn't always someone there to check up on you," Keene, a native of Auburn, Maine, said. "So, getting someone else to check up on you (during training), ensuring that you're doing it right, that's a good thing. It helps you not to lose a perishable skill and ensures that you're proficient."

For MEDDAC leadership, the training received through the Nursing Skills Fair is essential to ensure healthcare professionals are able to provide quality, safe care to the Soldiers, Families and retirees of the Fort Drum community.

"It's important because it not only elevates didactic knowledge but also provides the hands-on training that is required to maintain licensure, the scope of practice and clinical competencies in those areas," said Lt. Col. Kristine Broger, the MEDDAC deputy commander for nursing. "Our nurses and medics are the foundation to our organization. They're the ones doing the heavy lifting every day, so we have to make sure we're providing them with the skills and the training necessary to make them successful in their roles."

Krump and her team plan to continue conducting specialized training tailored to their audience when they conduct their next skills fair with the Fort Drum OB/GYN clinic in June at the Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, New York.

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