Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) held a three-day hospital corpsmen academy during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, July 24-26.
The academy’s purpose was to train non-clinically assigned hospital corpsmen in core skills so that they are better able to fulfill their roles as caretakers of Marines and Sailors.
“Mercy’s clinical directors came up with this program for corpsmen specifically working in non-clinical settings, because corpsmen assigned to food services, supply or administration don’t get to perform their clinical training,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ressurreccion Macaspac, Mercy’s education and training officer.
Skills taught during the academy included: suturing, intravenous therapy, a mock code blue, electrocardiogram recognition, controlling bleeding with tourniquet and basic medication administration.
“If you’re working in administration like me, and you don’t have hands-on training aboard Mercy, the hospital corpsmen academy is definitely helpful because it serves as a refresher for skills I don’t get to practice everyday,” said Hospitalman Tyler Dawsey, assigned to Mercy’s directorate for administration.
There are approximately 60 hospital corpsmen aboard Mercy assigned to billets outside of clinical practice. These corpsmen, compared to their counterparts working in clinical settings, are at more at risk for declining essential skills. But courses like this prevent that from happening, according to Macaspac.
The idea of having a hospital corpsmen academy was first discussed by Capt. Lynn Wheeler, Mercy’s executive officer, and clinical directors assigned to Mercy while the hospital ship was home ported in San Diego prior to departing for RIMPAC. Mercy’s clinical directors created hospital corpsmen academy based on Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery instruction.
“We came up with having this hospital corpsmen academy to keep them abreast with required core skills,” said Macaspac. “The curriculum was a collaboration between the clinical directors.”
Press Release, July 29, 2014; Image: US Navy