Back to Top Skip to main content

Navy corpsman: Carrying the legacy

Navy Seaman Brandon Taylor, a corpsman, inserts a decompression needle into an essential care simulator manikin during shock trauma section drills. The drills focused on sharpening life-saving skills and capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Huffty) Navy Seaman Brandon Taylor, a corpsman, inserts a decompression needle into an essential care simulator manikin during shock trauma section drills. The drills focused on sharpening life-saving skills and capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Huffty)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Military Hospitals and Clinics

SAN ANTONIO — The screams of the wounded and dying filled the stale room as medical workers rushed to check for pulses, resuscitate the unconscious and stop the bleeding. The darkness was pierced by red and green lights that illuminated pools of blood on the floor. Nervous hands scrambled to find the proper medical equipment amid the chaos of the combat environment that surrounded them, working frantically and disregarding their own safety.

Fortunately, none of this is real; it's a simulated casualty exercise, part of the training every future Navy hospital corpsman undergoes. The rate is actually the largest and most decorated in the Navy.

“We walk through the hallways and see the faces of all those who have given up their lives just to be part of that legacy,” said Seaman Patricia-Chase Sewell, corpsman “A” school student. “I can't imagine a greater honor, just the pride of being able to be here – and recognizing that this is something that thousands of people want to do but can't."

Sewell explained that she left college after two years of studying nursing to be part of something much bigger than a degree. It was more important for her to follow in the footsteps of past corpsmen.

“I couldn't imagine doing anything other than serving other people and helping other people,” said Sewell. “I can be in the military. I can wear the uniform and do something that I'm proud of and always will be proud of.”

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cesar Borrero, left, an x-ray technician, and Seaman Andrew Ott, a field medical technician, fasten a pelvic stabilization device to an essential care simulator manikin during shock trauma section drills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Huffty)
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Cesar Borrero, left, an x-ray technician, and Seaman Andrew Ott, a field medical technician, fasten a pelvic stabilization device to an essential care simulator manikin during shock trauma section drills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin Huffty)

Navy hospital corpsmen attend 14-week “A” school at the Medical Education and Training Campus in Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In the last few years, the curriculum, which is developed by Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command, has been revamped to more closely align it with the needs of the modern, expeditionary Navy and Marine Corps.

Navy HM1 Joy Lewis, an “A” school instructor, said the biggest difference in the school has been the renewed sense of ownership by the Navy, Navy medicine and the Hospital Corps. She said the instructors have gotten better at molding the next generation of corpsmen as well.

“The changes here at hospital corpsman 'A' school have always been for better medicine and to better understand how to treat personnel on a ship or on the ground with forces in the Marine Corps,” agreed Navy HM2 Briana Bartholomew, an instructor. “So we've incorporated a lot of the modern-day medicine and techniques in order for us to have the best medicine.”

When she went through the school years ago, for example, the curriculum did not allow the students to practice the techniques they learned during lectures. Instead, corpsmen had to get hands-on experience on the job.

“We went from an environment where it was a lot of sitting down and listening to lectures, and we discussed things that they may do,” said Lewis. “We changed that toward about 60 percent practical, so they're sitting in labs every day. They learn how to use a tourniquet, treat a patient and stop bleeding instead of talking about something that they may do someday.”

“Now, they understand how a system works through lessons they learn, by lectures on how a medical procedure works, and why they clean or sterilize the way they do,” added Bartholomew. “Then they work on mannequins, practice looking for a pulse and utilize needles.”

Along with the medical training, Bartholomew tries to instill in her students the values of leadership, motivation and love for the Navy. She wants her students to understand why they do the things they do, and step up when needed.

“My favorite thing about being an instructor is that I'm entrusted to be a mentor and a role model for the students that are coming into the Navy for the first time,” said Bartholomew. “Being entrusted to be a role model here, I find that a lot of students look up to us a lot. I never got looked up to before, so I feel like their hero. I want to strive to make sure that they understand everything that's here.”

According to Bartholomew, the most challenging part is motivating Sailors, and teaching them that they will often be the sole providers of medical care for the men and women with whom they are stationed.

“They're entrusting their lives to us,” said Bartholomew. “They're putting their lives in our hands. And if we have their lives, we need to make sure we're putting in 110 percent in everything.” To reflect that, the school's structure has undergone a revamp as well. Navy HM1 James Gafford, a tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) instructor, previously taught “A” school for two years. He said instruction has evolved from teaching both Navy corpsmen and Air Force medics in a joint environment, to focusing on the needs of the individual services.

“We moved into blocks, and with those blocks, we were able to really take a look at what the fleet is looking for as far as the performance of the corpsmen we were pushing out to them,” he said. Additionally, the course used to be heavily focused on providing care in medical treatment facilities (MTF). Now, the school has an increased emphasis on field training. Gafford explained that TCCC is a five-day course that trains students to provide medical support during combat. It teaches trauma life support in the field, and covers casualty drags, hemorrhage control, chest needle decompression, CPR, splinting and pressure dressings on medical dummies.

Because corpsmen don't always have access to all the equipment available in an MTF, students in the course have to rely on the equipment they will be carrying on their backs.

“Up until right now, they're taught to think in a medical treatment facility type of way,” said Gafford. “Well, here, we have to change their way of thinking just a little bit from combat medicine to ground medicine.”

Bartholomew added that another improvement to the program is that students are being eased into their roles in the fleet by going to naval hospitals or clinics after graduation. They're able to work with patients under supervision as part of Hospital Corpsman Skills Basic course, a three-month class to ensure corpsmen understand everything.

“The quality that we actually get, the response that we get from the fleet coming back to us to let us know, 'Hey, they are doing a good job,' has been higher than we've ever seen before,” said Bartholomew. “It's nice to know and rewarding that we're producing a product that we actually want to have out in the fleet to protect, heal or to be a comfort when we need them the most.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Vice President Pence tours USNS Comfort before its Latin America deployment

Article
6/20/2019
Vice President Mike Pence (right) greets Navy Lt. Gwendolyn Mann, and his wife, Karen Pence (center right), greets Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edna Wallace during a tour of the USNS Comfort in Miami, June 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Jordan R. Bair)

The vice president called the deployment a lifesaving mission

Recommended Content:

Civil Military Medicine | Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief | Global Health Engagement | Military Hospitals and Clinics

German allies visit JBSA-Fort Sam Houston on 75th anniversary of D-Day

Article
6/14/2019
Maj. Gen. Gesine Kruger, Commander for the German Bundeswehr Medical Academy (pictured center in the Flight Paramedic Training Simulator) and her delegation observed training and toured the Critical Care Flight Paramedic Course at the Health Readiness Center of Excellence. (U.S. Army photo)

The purpose of this visit was to further strengthen the bonds and interoperability programs between our allied countries or partner nations

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness

DHA director visits Tyndall

Article
6/11/2019
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, speaks at a town hall June 5, 2019 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. During her visit, she applauded the medical Airmen who have endured the challenges due to Hurricane Michael. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Sing

The goal for the DoD switching administration to DHA is a more integrated, efficient and effective system of readiness and health

Recommended Content:

Implementation of MHS Transition | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Hospital honored for Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose rate

Article
6/10/2019
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Tommy Baker checks on Navy Logistics Specialist Seaman Tabernesha Victrum and Romeo Taylor as they hold their newborn daughter at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Maternal Infant Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

NH Jacksonville is the newest entry into IAC’s Birth Dose Honor Roll

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Immunization Healthcare

DHA director discusses healthcare transformation at town hall

Article
5/24/2019
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, discusses the DHA transition during a town hall meeting at Brooke Army Medical Center. On Oct. 1, 2019 BAMC will transition under DHA command and authority. (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

We have the potential to create the very best healthcare system ever

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

MHS GENESIS: A force multiplier, one read at a time

Article
5/23/2019
MHS GENESIS has laid the foundation of real time, collaborative provider-to-provider consultation on radiology studies, no matter which military department or sector of the world as long as there is internet connectivity. (U.S. Air Force file photo)

MHS GENESIS allows NHB to ensure 92nd Medical Group providers have results in about 30 minutes

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | MHS GENESIS

Medical center set to transition to Defense Health Agency

Article
5/21/2019
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. The military treatment facility transition to DHA, according to Bono, should be seamless to the patients, but provide a more consistent and transparent process for accessing care across all the military services. (U.S. Army File photo)

The transition seeks to ensure that medical facilities continue to deliver safe, quality care

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Implementation of MHS Transition

Teddy bear health clinic

Article
5/17/2019
A corpsman teaches a child how stethoscopes work. During the Teddy Bear Health Clinic, children received a teddy bear, went from station to station making sure their new friend was healthy. The bears received patient identification bracelets, had their blood pressure taken, their hearts listened to, hearing tested, and even experienced an x-ray. The goal was to introduce children to different departments in the hospital and help alleviate any anxiety during future appointments or potential hospital stays. (U.S. Navy photo by Christina Clarke)

The clinic went through six boxes of teddy bears in just two hours

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Navy hospital ship to deploy in response to humanitarian crisis in Latin America

Article
5/10/2019
The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to deploy in to the Caribbean, Central America and South America to conduct humanitarian medical assistance missions in support of regional partners and in response to the regional impacts of political and economic crises in Venezuela. (U.S. Navy photo)

USNS Comfort represents our enduring promise to our partners in the Western Hemisphere

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Global Health Engagement | Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Navy nurse earns recognition for Nurses Week 2019

Article
5/10/2019
Navy Capt. Andrea Petrovanie (left), Naval Medical Center San Diego, Senior Nurse Officer, Directorate for Branch Clinics, goes over the day's orders with members of her nursing staff at NMCSD Naval Training Center branch clinic. Petrovanie was recently recognized for outstanding leadership by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Defense Health Agency. (U.S. Navy photo)

I love what I do and I know for sure nursing is my calling

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Call to service: A transition from civilian to Army nurse

Article
5/9/2019
Army Capt. Lisa Kasper, an Emergency Room Nurse assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), inserts an intravenous needle into a patient during a training exercise at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. John Moore)

Serving as the only nurse in the brigade was very daunting

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Mother's Day a chance to highlight care in the Military Health System

Article
5/8/2019
The Nunns with daughter Sabella and son Gideon. (Courtesy file photo)

The Military Health System helps deliver more than 100,000 babies each year

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Children's Health | Women's Health

Preventive Medicine techs foil the foe

Article
5/6/2019
The Food Safety Managers Course can positively impact mission readiness. By inspecting food and food service facilities, and if needed, conducting bacteriological analysis of food, water, and ice samples keeps those food and water borne contaminants away. (U.S. Army photo)

The adversary can impact Sailors and Marines everywhere

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

New training prepares Airmen to save lives

Article
5/2/2019
Tactical Combat Casualty Care is a two-day course created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and adopted by National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. It teaches life-saving skills and methods proven effective in a combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver)

TCCC teaches Airmen to treat injuries until medical care arrives

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens

Infographic
5/1/2019
Absolute and relative morbidity burdens

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable To Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This annual summary uses a standard disease classification system (modified for use among U.S. military members) and several healthcare burden measures to quantify the impacts of various illnesses and injuries among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 43

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing; Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.