LANDSTUHL, Germany - Soldiers and Airmen at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center are enhancing their medical capabilities by participating in the Medication Administration Course at LRMC.
The three-phase course, part of the MEDIC Up training program, enables U.S. Army healthcare specialist and U.S. Air Force aerospace medical service specialists to maximize scope of practice by administering certain medications to patients. Such training will increase staff competency and readiness in addition to relieving other clinicians of such duties.
“Phase one is a didactic in classroom, with some hands-on training,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ekerette Akpan, chief of Hospital Education and Training. “The second phase is assigning them to a 30-day preceptorship program. Basically, they work shoulder-to-shoulder with a preceptor.”
According to the hospital policy, the training allows an increased utilization of medics within the LRMC footprint in accordance with their training and expected levels of competency to maintain and develop a ready-medical force prepared for the mission of today and tomorrow.
“If I have a full ward and don't have enough (Licensed Practical Nurses) to balance that team, medics can assist and expand the nurse-to-patient ratio,” said Akpan. “That nurse can then take care of more patients in the clinic."
“Our usual scope of practice is on-the-scene trauma care or in the clinic, in an outpatient setting, helping a provider,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Rachel Clark, a healthcare specialist at LRMC’s Emergency Department, “The training helps by giving more hands-on (experience), being able to get medications if a nurse isn't available and administer to the patient.”
Clark, a medic for the past six years, believes the training really benefits junior medics who are unfamiliar with medications and may help prepare them for increased responsibilities.
“Take advantage of every opportunity given, if somebody's willing to educate and teach you something, take advantage of it,” said Clark, a Bell Fountain, Ohio native, who recently completed the course. “The more you chase that knowledge and those opportunities, the more experiences will come to you.”
“Any time we have an emergency it’s all hands on deck,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Aldo Dimas, an aerospace medical service specialist assigned to LRMC’s Labor and Delivery unit. “Before taking the class, I could only administer certain medications and vaccinations for babies, only help with certain procedures. Now with the training, it allows me to give care without aid or without a nurse present, which helps so much because I don’t want to feel hindered, and can to contribute more to the team.”
“They are being utilized as close to the same level as they would be in a (combat environment),” said Akpan. “(Medics in combat environments) aren’t looking for a nurse behind him to be able to do something. They are relied on to take care of their troops.”
Medics who complete the training receive a special designation on hospital badges to help identify competency and skill.
“It helps us to do more,” said Akpan, a native of Wichita, Kansas. “Not necessarily do more with less, but expand our capability and capacity.”