Critical care training sets the bar high
By: Sgt. Ashton Empty
4th Combat Aviation Brigade
The United States Army consistently looks for new ways to increase support and aid to its Soldiers and the citizens who support us.
Every military installation strives to give back and assist the local community.
One unit, Charlie Company "Archangel Dustoff," 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, has found a way to support their surrounding community while maintaining their training standards at the highest levels.
Fort Carson has established a working agreement with Centura Health, a health care leader focused on providing world-class care to its patients.
The established agreement allows Fort Carson Soldiers to receive critical care training and allows the Penrose-St. Francis hospital has willing and capable Soldiers working within their premises at no cost to them.
This agreement helps put the Army's Critical Care Flight Paramedic (CCFP) program in motion.
"We were able to partner with the Dustoff unit to provide clinical experiences for the flight medics," said Meredith Young, the paramedic program clinical coordinator at Penrose-St. Francis hospital. "It helps keep and grow the skills acquired during training sharp, as well as up to standard."
This is how the working agreement works.
Twenty-five military flight paramedics attached to Archangel Dustoff will meet the minimum of 300 patient hours per quarter, 100 patient contact hours per month and 12 patient contact hours per flight paramedic. This occurs while maintaining flight time minimums and never impacting company missions.
Staff Sgt. Ian Schevchuk, a flight paramedic assigned to Archangel Dustoff, is one of the Soldiers that is part of the rotating cycle that gets to attend and train at the Penrose hospital.
"Being at the hospital, we get hands-on training with things like endotracheal intubation, pharmacology, knowing when and how to use medicine as well as which one,” said Schevchuk.
Depending on schedules and training missions, Soldiers rotate for two weeks to the hospital to get hands-on training to become proficient paramedics with real-world experience.
These Soldiers are placed in numerous sections, including the emergency room, operating room, intensive care unit, catheterization lab and even the intermittent respiratory therapy section.
Every Soldier that enters the hospital rotation is a combat medic at the very least but are accompanied by doctors and nurses whenever they are working on a patient for training and safety purposes.
"Doing this increases our ability to provide patient care, establish competence and confidence," said Staff Sgt. Jason Flores, another flight paramedic part of the hospital rotation assigned to the same unit. "It was an absolute positive opportunity to get some hands-on training with actual patients."
While this opportunity significantly strengthens community relations, it also allows the Soldiers participating to become more efficient in handling patients in critical moments. Whether in the air, on the battlefield, or even during transfers to medical facilities, every opportunity provides valuable experiences.
"With the training we're getting from Penrose, we'll be able to fly our helicopters to patients on the battlefield and pick them up to perform lifesaving procedures while getting them to higher levels of care," said Flores. "The needs of the patient is always our top priority."
Going through the program and experience is an opportunity worthwhile to any combat medic wanting to get more progression and training.
"I would definitely recommend this program for all medics on the post," said Shevchuk. "It's a beneficial opportunity to get more hands-on training, more real-world experience and keeping what you have learned sharp with no downsides to participating."