BJACH hosts hospital-wide skills fair

By Jean GravesMarch 29, 2023

FORT POLK, La. — Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital hosted a skills fair on March 21 and 22 at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, Louisiana. The purpose of the event was to provide hospital clinicians with state-of-the-art training and help military providers complete individual task list requirements.

Maj. Markeisha Hubbard, chief of hospital education and staff development for BJACH, said her department coordinates training for providers, nurses, and medical support staff quarterly.

“Our hope is that our medical providers are able to complete their competencies areas that are high risk, low volume at our facility,” she said. “We designed this fair to educated staff on things that they won’t encounter every day, but when they do it’s imperative that they understand the processes and procedures necessary to ensure positive outcomes for our patients.”

Hubbard said events like this are designed to give BJACH staff the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide the best care to our patients.

Col. Aristotle Vaseliades, hospital commander, said the skills fair was a huge success.

“We were able to complete more than 40 individual critical task list items in two days,” he said. “As a result our officers have the highest level completed to date. Everyone had a great time while learning new skills and brushing up on the ones not used regularly.”

Mark Schenk, Business Development Manager for the U.S. Army with Operative Experience, provided life-like simulators to enhance the realism of the training.

One of the simulators Schenk brought to the fair was the female technical combat casualty care simulator.

“We developed this 130 pound, 5’ 4” tall female simulator at for the Army because she is the mean height and weight of a 24-year-old female Soldier today,” he said. “She is completely modular, with open and closed fractures, she breaths, bleeds, talks and can operate for about ten hours on one battery charge.”

Schenk said it’s important for medics to practice on female simulators.

“What we’ve seen at all skill levels, from young medics to physicians, is that the female simulator doesn’t get a rapid trauma assessment,” he said. “Historically battlefield casualties have been male. What we’ve discovered is a hesitancy to treat this simulator. With our male simulators, the cloths are cut off quickly and the medical providers get right to work. With first responders on a female simulator, hands immediately come back, they start asking permission to touch her and finding things to cover her with.”

Maj. Cody McDonald, clinical nurse in charge of BJACH’s emergency department, conducted training on port access competencies during the skills fair.

“We want to provide this service to our community,” he said. “Patients come to BJACH periodically with ports. They have ports because they must have multiple blood draws or medication administrations, so they opt to get a port to avoid multiple sticks on a continual basis. The port makes it easier for the patient to receive medications or have blood drawn.”

McDonald said it’s important all clinicians understand what they are, how they are used, and the importance of proper access to them.

“This is one of those things that is not a required competency, but it is a high risk, low utilization skill we should all have,” he said. “There is a high risk for infection with ports, so we want to ensure we all know how to care for, clean, access and de-access them.”

Maj. Ashleigh Hartman, CNCOIC of the operating room and sterile processing for BJACH, had a station that provided familiarization to a crash cart.

“We don’t open crash carts very frequently, so this station is for familiarization with it and what’s in it,” she said. “In the event of a code, cardiac arrest or any significant event where a patient is downward trending and needs emergency intervention, the crash cart has IV starts, airway adjuncts, full intubations, medications, as well as test tubes, supplies for blood draws, specimen collections and more.”

April William, head nurse for the BJACH OB/GYN clinic, managed the post-partum hemorrhage and code purple procedures station during the skills fair.

Schenk brought the birthing simulator, affectionally known as “real mama,” for William’s portion of the event.

“We discussed the risk, signs and symptoms patients may display and what do we need to do if we suspect a post-partum hemorrhage,” she said.

Williams said she tailored her training based on which department participants work in and what their scope of practice is.

“If they are in the family practice clinic, they won’t have a mom who is four hours post-delivery, but they may have a patient who comes in several days after delivery who hasn’t had their follow up yet who is bleeding a lot,” she said. “I gave them things to look for and questions to ask to determine if they need to go the emergency department.”

Hubbard said the event pulled resources from across the facility to teach a wide variety of topics.

“Our clinicians had the opportunity to learn more about traumatic brain injuries, treatment of massive hemorrhages, extended focused assessment with sonography, blood administration, blood born pathogens and TB skin testing,” she said. “We also coordinated with our department of industrial hygiene to knock out fit testing for those who use the N95 respirators and surgical masks.”

Hubbard said the event was well received and gave BJACH doctors, nurses, and medical clinicians more tools to serve beneficiaries in emergency situations.