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METC Combat Medic Program lauded for exceptional teamwork

By Maj. Marjorie K. Brooks, CCRN | METC Combat Medic Specialist Training Program | Oct. 19, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The Medical Education and Training Campus Combat Medical Specialist Training Program, or CMSTP, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston has been recognized for exceptional teamwork by an integrated group of military and civilian team members focused on excellence in support of Army Medicine. 

The METC CMSTP received the 3rd Quarter fiscal year 2020 Army Medicine Wolf Pack Award, which was established in 2011 by the U.S. Army Surgeon General and Army Medical Department Civilian Corps Chief.

The METC team is made up of military and civilian members. The military members and students are assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, while the civilian personnel are Defense Health Agency, or DHA, employees.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the combined instructor team created a dynamic blended instructional model and successfully piloted a National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians review course which reduced academic attrition by greater than 90 percent.

Training combat medics and protecting the training pipeline is a critical mission, even more so during these unprecedented times. The team of military and civilian cadre demonstrated their agility and adaptability by continuing to train 1,871 students, providing the force with fully qualified Army combat medics. 

The combat medics provide essential lifesaving skills in the contemporary operating environment. In a matter of six months, the CMSTP team rapidly developed a blended instructional model and organized into a two-shift system of training, providing instruction over 17 hours each day. This combination allowed for a safe, socially distanced learning environment for the faculty and students.

The CMSTP transformed the program curriculum, including lectures, group activities, demonstrations and hands-on instruction from a traditional classroom lecture model to a virtual learning platform. More than 65 lectures and more than 20 individual combat medic skills and skill validation exercises were recorded and placed on the digital platform for students to continue learning remotely.  Workbooks, practice questions and exam content were converted to the online platform and a discussion board was added.

The CMSTP team was not only able to establish a blended learning environment, but also significantly decreased attrition rates during this time. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT, review course for students who have difficulty passing the course has decreased the attrition rate by more than 90 percent. An estimated $5,800,000 has been saved so far thanks to this innovation.

Working together as partners, the CMSTP team evolved and improved the training program through a complex pandemic.