JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
During a recent visit to south Texas, the Navy surgeon general met with Hospital Corps School leaders, staff and students from Navy Medicine Training Support Center, or NMTSC, and the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Aug. 2.
Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, or BUMED, met with NMTSC and METC senior leaders then visited the schoolhouse and spoke with instructors and students from the first class using the new HM School curriculum implemented in early July.
“I came down here to see how it’s going,” Faison said. “We started the curriculum in July and I wanted to talk to the students and let them know why what they’re studying is important and how vital their role is to our future.”
The changes to the school curriculum are in large part a result of a Job Duty Task Analysis, or JDTA, of the Hospital Corps where stakeholders and subject-matter experts analyzed duties and tasks required to perform at the level that meets the command’s, Navy Medicine’s and the Navy’s mission. Other factors were recommendations from a leadership symposium of Master Chief Hospital Corpsmen, or HMCMs, the Force Master Chief and a Hospital Corpsman survey sent to new HM "A" School graduates and their supervisors.
Faison said the decision to make changes included a look to the future.
“The reason we made these changes is to get ready for any future conflict,” Faison explained. “We had unprecedented combat survival in the last conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you were injured on the battlefield, you had a 91 percent chance of survival. Our challenge is, how do we sustain that into the next conflict??
According to Faison, potential for future conflicts will more than likely come in an area on or near the sea, making the Navy and Marine Corps mission much different than in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“If you look at Afghanistan and Iraq, what were the main reasons for combat survival?” Faison asked. “One was the amazing performance of our corpsmen and medics on the battlefield. The second was rapid evacuation to damage control surgery. The third was air superiority and air medical evacuation. In a fight at sea, we’re not going to have some of those advantages.”
Navy Medicine is revamping education and training to prepare future corpsmen to operate effectively in these environments and be as prepared as possible for any future conflicts they may support during their career.
“We make a commitment to provide the best care our nation can offer and do all in our power to return home safely those who will defend our freedom,” Faison added. “Making sure these corpsmen are well trained and prepared for what may be a very different conflict in the future allows us to make good on that promise.”
Faison said the ability to save lives on the battlefield isn’t just about what’s learned in the classroom, but actually depends on three factors: training, clinical experience and confidence. For this reason, Navy Medicine is also implementing a new personal qualification standards, or PQS, program as follow-on training for Hospital Corpsman. School graduates of the new curriculum. The PQS will be used at their new commands.
“We set up a PQS program that will rotate them through trauma centers in the local community, through operating rooms, through intensive care units, to give them real hands-on patient experience to be able to back up and build on the training they get here,” Faison said. “We’re putting into place programs that will give corpsmen the experience and the ability to take care of people that will help them build confidence.”
Faison said his brief time spent with METC and NMTSC leaders, instructors in the HM School and different classrooms of school students also gave him an opportunity to express his gratitude for their hard work and dedication, and to answer questions.
“The men and women here make me so incredibly proud,” Faison said. “I have no worries about the future of our country when I look into the eyes of these young men and women who have volunteered to serve.”