Medical personnel assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., recently engaged in simulated training as part of the Critical Care and Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborne Medical Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.
This year-long U.S. Air Force fellowship includes five weeks of in-depth classroom education followed by hands-on learning with instructors in the specialty care units and Level I Trauma Center at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborne Medical Center. Based in a civilian hospital, the fellowship is one of its kind and is only one of two such programs in the United States.
“We provide the simulation training to stress them out in a simulation setting so when they encounter this in the real world, they have a little more experience with it,” said Maj. Dawn Higgins, Critical Care and Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship director.
During the didactic portion of the program, nurses undergo realistic simulations which include the emergency trauma tent simulation, and the critical care intensive care unit simulation. Each simulation provides nurses the chance to work together to determine the best patient care for injured dummies in a realistic environment.
“Teamwork is a very important aspect in what we do,” Higgins said. “No one person has all of the answers. That’s why we start them out working together in groups to bounce ideas off one another.”
Fostering this teamwork environment creates more effective training.
“The training that we do here is highly effective,” said Capt. Danilo Belarmino, 56th Medical Support Squadron registered nurse and student. “We do six weeks of didactic training, lab simulation as well as actual patient care. The laboratory simulations help out quite a bit. We get to do interventions that are not on live patients, but we still get to see the success or failure of that intervention.”
Throughout the program, nurses also gain the training, confidence and experience needed to perform successfully during combat and humanitarian missions.
“One of the reasons this program exists in the Air Force is because as we’ve downsized, so has the acuity of our patients who we deal with on a day-to-day basis and the military treatment facilities that we currently have state-side. However, when we deploy, we have very complex patients who we deal with.”
The fellowship program at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osbourne Medical Center continues to sharpen Airmen’s skills needed for all contingencies.