News: Corpsmen and nurses train to prepare for Exercise Active Shield
Story by Lance Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Sailors from the Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Health Clinic completed the Advanced Cardiac Life Support course in Building 411 here Feb. 9, 2012.
The purpose of the course was to serve as a refresher of the techniques used when trying to resuscitate individuals.
“It’s the next step after the Basic Life Saving procedure,” said Navy Lt. Andereas Stiller, Branch Health Clinic ACLS instructor and family nurse practitioner. “If a patient is critically ill, where for some reason they stop breathing, the heart stops or has some type of arrhythmia, we’re able to revive them back to a normal rhythm or get them the immediate care they need to treat the underlying cause of the abnormal rhythm.”
The course often can be used in mass-casualty situations, such as Exercise Active Shield, or in the event there is a need for largescale
The course deals with many aspects of corpsmen’ and nurses’ training such as intravenous therapy injections and how to revive or stabilize patients who are in critical condition.
“(The BHC) itself is not an ACLS facility, but we do deploy to combat zones and we have other providers who go to other clinics that have ACLS,” said Stiller.
The course is offered several times throughout the year and is usually two days long. Course participants are required to be proficient in electrocardiography readings and must be certified Emergency Medical Technicians.
“It’s mostly providers and registered nurses who take the class, along with independent duty corpsmen,” said Stiller.
Once certified, participants only have to take the course once every two years.
The initial class lasts two days while the recertification class only lasts one. A written proficiency test is required, along with a practical examination at the course’s conclusion.
During the practical examination, participants were split into 3-person teams, each with their own practice dummy.
The one being tested was tasked with issuing out orders to the others, determining when to administer the necessary steps of resuscitation within a timeframe of eight minutes.
Prior to using the steps, they were given insight into the victim’s predicament, injuries and variables such as age and ailments that may help when trying to determine the cause.
Some of the participants felt this training was not only a good refresher but also served as a way to remind corpsmen and nurses of the intricate details associated with their profession.
“We get so used to doing our routine of seeing patients in the clinic, we forget the little nuances and details of a Code Blue,” said Tatiania Morales, BHC general medical officer.
It is these details which can give the practitioners the insight needed in a mass-casualty drill, as they are not conducted very often.
“It’s always important to refresh and review as often as possible, especially here where we don’t have to perform, thankfully, on real people very often,” said Morales.
With Active Shield to take place next month, the ACLS course is one of the many aspects of the exercise which can help to ensure the training runs smoothly.
Beyond the needs of having this information for the exercise, this course can also help service members on the battlefield.