SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Over the course of four days in early October, Tripler Army Medical Center’s Emergency Department hosted a Joint Operations Medical Provider Readiness Simulation, here.
Collectively the Army, Air Force and Navy contributed 23 facilitators and 80 participants, making this a true joint force exercise.
“I’ve been in the military for 17 years and this is my first joint service training,” said Lt. Col. Rachel Blanton, certified registered nurse anesthetist at Tripler Army Medical Center. “We all have pretty similar jobs but we don’t see each other because we have these facilities where we don’t cross paths often.”
The simulated training scenarios tested participants’ skills in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3), Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, and Individual Critical Task Lists. To do this, a simulated improvised explosive device (IED) detonated and participants had to evacuate multiple patients while suppressing enemy fire, providing triage, and transporting them to a clinical setting where they continued administering care.
“The joint training is really important, it’s not just one branch to carry the team when we get called on missions,” said Sgt. Joseph Paladino, a combat medic at Tripler.
Every hour, teams of eight rotated through the scenario, often leaving the forward resuscitation surgical tent splattered in enemy contact – after being hit with paint balls. Each team had at least one provider, one registered nurse, and two medics representing a broad swath of medical professionals.
“As a facilitator, it was awesome to watch each team develop a personality and tackle the problems with on-the-fly and unique solutions,” said Maj. Joseph Matthews, clinical nursing specialist at Tripler’s Emergency Department and organizer of the event.
Facilitators spent hours discussing adult learning theory and designing the lanes to ensure the experience was impactful for participants. Key components of the training were designed to help participants connect the simulated exercise to their daily practices and roles while on deployment.
“I enjoyed debriefing with the group after we had gone through those three trauma stations,” said Capt. Jessica Bain, a facilitator and executive officer of Naval Health Clinic Hawaii. “My favorite part was watching them have their ‘a-ha’ moment and […] the confidence that I saw in them throughout the scenario.”
Of the participants and facilitators, commands represented included: Tripler’s Emergency Department; 8th Forward Surgical Team; Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency; Charlie Company 3-25 MEDEVAC, 25th Infantry Division; 15th Medical Group; Naval Health Clinic Hawaii; and Naval Special Warfare Group Three.
“The support, success and participation in this activity is a credit to the military healthcare providers and clinical instructors here on the island,” said Matthews. “They strive to be technically and tactically proficient while building the relationships that will help save lives on the battlefield.”
To watch a video detailing the experience and exercise: https://www.dvidshub.net/video/774479/medical-teams-across-hawaii-train-jointly-promote-mission-readiness