DOD/VA Medical Professionals Hone Skills during "Skills Wars"

Story Number: NNS160511-09Release Date: 5/11/2016 2:38:00 PM
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By Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Jackson, Naval Health Clinic Charleston

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) medical professionals serving in the Lowcountry competed in a Star Wars-themed, skills war May 4 at Naval Health Clinic Charleston (NHCC) in an effort to hone their medical skills while building esprit de corps among the services.

Medical personnel from Naval Health Clinic Charleston; the 628th Medical Group, Joint Base Charleston; Naval Hospital Beaufort; the 315th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command; and the VA Goose Creek Outpatient Clinic participated in the Lowcountry Federal Healthcare Alliance (LFHA) Skills Wars at NHCC, located at Goose Creek, where participants rotated among a round-robin of interactive stations and were educated on best practices as well as the latest advances in medical technology.

"Every day, we have the honor of serving our nation's heroes, at home and abroad," NHCC Commanding Officer Capt. Elizabeth Maley said during the opening ceremony. "Events like this help us stay mission ready, ensuring we are better prepared to answer when duty calls."

The various stations included training in skills, such as emergency medical response procedures, electrocardiography drills and intubation and airway management.

During the Skills Wars, teams were timed as they responded to scenarios they would possibly experience while deployed or on humanitarian missions. Tasks included prioritizing casualties' wounds for emergency care, or triage, controlling bleeding with a tourniquet and evacuating a casualty using a litter.

"The world of medicine is fast-paced and ever-changing," Maley said. "We've created an effective learning environment that enables our medical professionals to validate their knowledge, get updates on any changes in clinical care and refresh their skills in procedures or on equipment."

"The take away is gained confidence and proficiency," she said. "We expand our capabilities to provide safer, higher quality services for our beneficiaries," she said.

While certain medical procedures are the same across the board, intercommunications methods vary from service to service, said Air Force Col. Margaret Jones, commander of the 628th Medical Group.

"The opportunity to work with our sister service, as well as civil servants in the medical field, was priceless," Jones said. "Our medical staff can incorporate some of what they learned today into real-life skills they can use on and off the battlefield."

Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (VAMC) Director Scott Isaacks said not only was the joint event invaluable because of the hands-on training, it also served as an extension of the ongoing VA/DOD collaboration, which ensures health care professionals in all LFHA organizations receive the latest training to continually improve their skills.

"For several years, we have partnered with our Navy and Air Force counterparts, providing training opportunities at Ralph H. Johnson VAMC that enable active-duty personnel to maintain specialty skills, and we recently established a simulation lab for enhanced skills training" Isaacks said. "We are excited to see the enthusiasm for the skills fair and look forward to future opportunities to train alongside our military partners."

Skills Wars is one of many joint training events slated for LFHA partners to collaborate in an effort to share resources and to keep their medical personnel ready for any health care challenge.

Sailors assigned to Naval Health Clinic Charleston practice intubation on human patient simulators.
160504-N-DB606-003 CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 4, 2016) Lt. Nikki Pritchard, left, Seaman Brianna Grindle, Seaman Blake Hollier, Petty Officer 3rd Class Savasha Butler, and Seaman Brandy Sandoval, all assigned to Naval Health Clinic Charleston, practice intubation on human patient simulators, or computer-operated mannequins, May 4, 2016 during the Lowcountry Federal Healthcare Alliance Skills Wars. The joint training event is designed for military healthcare providers to hone their skills while developing camaraderie among the services. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Jackson/Released)
May 11, 2016
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