JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Nov. 9, 2020) – The Combat Medic Specialist Training Program (CMSTP) and the Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) Learning Systems Branch staff were presented with the Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award by Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command, on Nov. 9.
The team was recognized for exceptional dedication and teamwork during the COVID-19 pandemic. This group of Army civilians and military instructors dedicated many hours to develop a dynamic blended learning environment and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) refresher course significantly reducing academic attrition.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team continued to produce world class Combat Medic Specialists who are ready to deploy and perform their critical tasks upon graduation and their flexibility, teamwork, and safety precautions during the pandemic paved the way to the future of Army Medicine and its tradition of excellence.
Their efforts increased the NREMT pass rate up to 100% producing 1,871 combat medics and saving the Army over 1 million dollars.
At the start of the pandemic, it was immediately recognized that the CMSTP program needed to evolve rapidly in order to continue training medics and providing essential healthcare support to the fight.
The Fieldcraft and EMT sections worked hand in hand with the MEDCoE video team and the MEDCoE Learning Systems Branch to digitize class material and upload them to the Blackboard Forum. This involved videotaping 41 EMT and 25 Fieldcraft class lectures, uploading quizzes and tests, study materials, and digitizing workbook documents. Videos detailing proper performance of 11 skills and 10 Individual Skill Validations were created so the course material could be accessed remotely.
The CMSTP Military and civilian instructors were also able to create and gain approval by Army EMS for a refresher course to review NREMT material for students who had failed the test, and were a potential loss to the Army. The refresher course was presented to 14 soldiers who had already failed the NREMT three times and the first refresher course resulted in a 100% pass rate instead of the previous 50% on the NREMT test. This potentially saved the Army $100,000 per student who would have otherwise been reclassified or become a loss to the Army.
The success of the NREMT refresher course has encouraged the redesign of current study halls to mirror the program, and to share best practices with the Army National Guard, Navy, and Air Force.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMSTP was drastically altered in a safer and more tactically dispersed manner and instead of conducting one traditional class period per day, the instructors altered their schedules in order to accommodate two separate classes during an early morning and a late evening shift. This increased their workload and time instructing.
The Soldier Medic Training Site (SMTS) that leads the final 72-hour continuous operations section of the students' training, moved its entire operation from Camp Bullis to Fort Sam Houston to further support the training mission. When not engaged in continuous operations, SMTS staff provided support to the Fieldcraft and EMT sections as both instructors and assistant instructors to maintain the split schedule.
As training continued, the Cadre Development section provided a plan for CPR training to continue on schedule by further limiting class size, utilizing PPE, modifying the technique of using the pocket mask for ventilation, and ensuring adequate cleaning of all equipment to prevent cross contamination.