Health & Safety

April 4, 2014

Training affiliation agreement ensures medical skills are maintained

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Senior Airman Jason Couillard
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force surgeons assigned to the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center, Nellis Air Force Base discuss a patient’s medical records March 28 at University Medical Center, Las Vegas. MOFMC Airmen are provided the opportunity to maintain their medical expertise by participating in a joint venture with UMC.

LAS VEGAS — The Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center has established a training affiliation agreement with University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

The TAA helps ensure military doctors are staying current with their medical specialties -to ensure the highest level of patient care can be achieved.

“We are really proud of this program. I have been at the table for a decade ensuring this program does not fail and it is about to become a major force,” said Dr. John Fildes, medical director of trauma services for UMC.

Hard-earned knowledge and skills are acquired during conflicts or operations. Sustaining the skills in the years between conflicts continues to be a challenge. With the planned drawdown of forces in Afghanistan looming for the end of 2014, leadership has to find ways to preserve the skills that enabled unprecedented survival for casualties of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Immediate benefits are that the program refreshes the mission of collaboration and teaching at all levels. In return, we are learning lessons from active duty medical staff,” Fildes said. “The way that we have managed injured patients has changed a lot in the past three years, largely because we have had people who have been deployed who use techniques in civilian surgery that were pioneered in a combat location.”

Partnering with local hospitals under a TAA creates avenues for training beyond the capabilities of a Military Treatment Facility. Although an MTF will receive trauma cases, they are likely not enough to keep someone current on their medical skills. This is where the TAA helps military doctors.

Maj. (Dr.) Nichole Ingalls (bottom left), 99th Surgical Operations Squadron trauma surgeon, reviews medical records prior to conducting patient rounds March 3 at University Medical Center, Las Vegas. Patient rounds are a daily visit by the attending physician and a team of medical professionals to all of the physicians’ patients. Rounding by medical staff is an important
part of on the job training and education to focus on immediate care for the patients.

“They see quite a bit of penetrating trauma, which I didn’t have a lot of time to see during my residency. Learning from that experience has been enriching for my own education,” said Maj. (Dr.) Fia Yi, 99th Surgical Operations Squadron colorectal surgeon.
Although the medical staff from the MOFMC learns from the partnership, UMC staffers benefit from having Air Force Medical staff on campus.

“The staff here is very appreciative of the skills that we bring to their working environment in terms of our experience with wartime trauma as well as new faces and new ideas,” Yi said.

Doctors are not the only members who are going through the program. There are also enlisted medical technicians that receive training in the burn unit at UMC.

According to UMC’s website, the center is the state’s only dedicated burn center and provides inpatient and outpatient care to residents of Utah, Arizona and California. The TAA ensures the medical technicians are receiving valued and proper continued training so they are ready for challenges that may lie ahead.

Although the TAA is a local program, there is potential for it to expand to Air Force level to ensure that our Air Force is ready for whatever medical challenges are brought up.

With the scale down in forces in combat environments, doctors have to maintain their medical currency in order to uphold one of the core values, Excellence in all we do.




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