The Key to Readiness is Preparation

Story Number: NNS180212-37Release Date: 2/12/2018 12:46:00 PM
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By Eric Sesit and Madison Marcantel, Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point Public Affairs

CHERRY POINT, N.C. (NNS) -- Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point (NHCCP) recently rolled out a new readiness initiative as the command's active-duty staff participated in the first of 12, two-hour training sessions designed to improve deployment readiness.

The combined classroom and hands-on training is in alignment with the Bureau of Navy Medicine's (BUMED) readiness initiative. The training will cover triage, combat lifesaver skills, evacuation of casualties, decontamination, caregiver roles in the various echelons of care, how to identify and assess hazards, disposal of biohazard waste, infection control procedures and even health care administration fundamentals.

NHCCP's senior enlisted leader for Directorate for Public Health and Clinical Support Services Chief Petty Officer Joe Lemon said, "This training will make our staff operationally and physically ready to do their job in a combat environment." Lemon is one of 13 members on the clinics Readiness Board responsible for the training.

According to NHCCP's Director of Health Services, Cmdr. Accursia Baldassano, "We have a diverse group of staff at NHCCP ... many have served in combat and others are on their first tour in the Navy. By training the whole team from the point of injury through the echelons of care, we can prepare our staff to be operationally ready.

"We are training as a team, which is exactly how we serve in combat, from the most junior sailor to the commanding officer. By providing this training we are aligning with the Surgeon General's Priority of Readiness."

NHCCP's Commanding Officer, Capt. Jay Woelkers, kicked off the initial training by relating his deployment experiences as Executive Officer, Charlie Trauma Surgical Company, Al Asad, Iraq, and as Commanding Officer, Bravo Trauma Surgical Company, Delaram, Afghanistan.

"When our Sailors have to deploy, they will need to be physically fit. They will have to carry more than 60 pounds of battle gear while being able to work in a highly stressful environment," Woelkers said. "They need to be able to report to a level one, two, or three facility and jump right in with a knowledge of the basic skills they need already under their belt."

The staff of Navy doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen will each be part of a 20 man team with each team having an evenly distributed skill set from among various medical disciplines.

"The system we are using for this training is: watch one, teach one, do one," said Lemon. "Because the teams are diverse in skill sets, the goal is for members to learn and build off of each other."

"We hope the teams will develop into a strong unit as if they were to deploy together," said Lemon. "The goal is for the teams to continue to learn outside of training ... that they take this training one step further."

NHCCP's readiness training is designed so active-duty military will be able to pack their sea bags and deploy to an echelon one, two or three facility on a moment's notice.

There are five levels of military casualty care, from the front lines through Germany and back to the Continental U.S.

The first echelon is referred to as self-aid/buddy aid ... taking care of oneself, or another on the battle field with tourniquets, large bandages for massive lacerations, Basis Life Support, etc.

Level two is a small aid station with basic surgical and imaging capability where patients are stabilized until transportation is available to an echelon three facility which have more advanced imaging capabilities and can also provide trauma surgery, intensive care units and wards.

Echelon four facilities are major overseas hospitals and echelon five facilities are major receiving hospitals in the U.S.

Hospital Corpsman Nicholas Xenakis, who recently arrived at NHCCP for his first tour of duty said, "This training is definitely a great prepper. It challenges us physically and mentally for whatever may happen in the future.

"Seeing the commanding officer, the executive officer and the entire senior staff of doctors and nurses involved with this training is fantastic and a great motivator. Learning from these senior people who have "been there and done it" in a combat zone are invaluable lessons."

"Programs like this ensure the field readiness of our command's active duty," said Lemon. "They are instrumental in our safety and success during deployment. I am excited to see NHCCP taking steps to provide our sailors with the skills they will need to save lives."

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