FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
With one smooth and calculated motion, an IV needle is inserted into the arm of Capt. Neal Alexander, maternal child flight manager at the 92nd Medical Group, by Airman 1st Class Jessica Schiller, an aerospace medical service apprentice at 141st MDG, during IV and laboratory draw training at the simulation lab at the Washington State University College of Nursing Riverpoint Campus in Spokane, Wash.
More than 45 nurses, medics and medical providers from the 141st MDG as well as seven medical personnel assigned to the 92nd MDG teamed up for the combined training.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a relationship with WSU,” said Capt. Kandace Kannberg, the staff development nurse at the 141st MDG. “We probably get our most meaningful training here because many of our members do not work in the medical field as civilians. This is their chance to get hands on experience to accomplish those skills to be ready when the call comes that we’re needed for support.”
The 141st MDG gets the opportunity to train three to four times a year at the WSU Riverpoint campus on a number of skills and techniques. Past trainings have included teachings on orthopedic trauma, massive blood transfusions, treatment for different kinds of shock, and gunshot wound treatment and care.
Each training event has a theme and objective for the group. The first portion consists of lecture sessions that go over a range of topics and training objectives for the weekend. Local medical providers, often prior military members, may volunteer their time to deliver lessons as well.
For the simulation portion, the larger group is split up into smaller teams who then rotate through different stations. The simulations are built from past training lessons, new training objectives, or can be pulled from scenarios WSU uses with their nursing students.
The training schedule runs on a 24-month cycle that follows a comprehensive medical readiness training plan that’s required for all medics, nurses, and providers to maintain their currency for their medical certifications.
Airman 1st Class Mariah Kroeze, a medical technician for the 141st MDG, is a traditional Guardsman, a full-time student and was a participant in this weekend’s training.
“It’s an important experience,” said Kroeze. “I enjoyed the lecture portion, but actually practicing the skills, getting hands on experience, and being able to get in there and place an IV successfully helps me to be proficient at the skills that I’m expected to know.”
The next training is slated to take place in June and Guardsmen will get the chance to receive hands on training with multi-patient trauma, much like an emergency room setting. Participants will be learning about cardiac disorders, practicing electrocardiogram interpretations, and needle decompressions for a collapsed lung.
“It’s been great to watch our new medics learn and take the lead over the years,” said Kannberg. “If this training can give them the confidence to try something that the thought they couldn’t do and take something that they’ve learned, I feel like I’ve done my job.”