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...

Preventing seasonal influenza

Article
11/13/2019
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jaqueline Mbugua and members of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Medical Group traveled to the Roxy Theater on Joint Base Cape Cod to provide flu shots to Airmen Nov. 2, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas Swanson).

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

Nellis medical center celebrates 25 years

Article
11/13/2019
Air Force Col. Alfred Flowers, 99th Medical Group commander, and Army Staff Sgt. Michael O’Callaghan, (grandson of the former Gov. O’Callaghan) reveal a portrait of O’Callaghan during a ceremony celebrating the Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center’s 25th Anniversary on Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Nov. 12, 2019. The portrait will hang in the MOMMC to honor the center's namesake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum)

The Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center celebrated 25 years of operation Nov. 12

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

Womack Army Medical Center named Level III trauma center

Article
11/12/2019
Local medical partners conduct a 'trace the trauma' tour Nov. 6 after Womack Army Medical Center celebrated their integration into the North Carolina American College of Surgeons Level III Trauma designation. (U.S. Army photo by Twana Atkinson)

Trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans age 45 and younger

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

The art of moulage

Article
11/6/2019
Combat Medic Training program students at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston conduct an emergency cricothyrotomy on a “casualty” during simulation training. The “wounded” manikin also presents with facial burns that were created with moulage techniques. (DoD photo by Lisa Braun)

METC combat medic manikins rock realistic wounds

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Air Force transitions all U.S. military treatment facilities to DHA administration, management

Article
10/31/2019
This October, U.S.-based Air Force military treatment facilities transferred administration and management to the Defense Health Agency. (U.S. Air Force illustration)

Congress directed this transfer in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Joint Army-Air Force-Navy medical partnership saves lives downrange

Article
10/29/2019
Airmen work with members of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation team to save the life of a NATO troop at the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

More than 100 medics from the 59th Medical Wing deployed

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA's management of hospitals and clinics 'all about the patient'

Article
10/29/2019
Great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients – all flow directly from a patient-centered approach. As DHA assumes responsibility for military health care facilities across the entire Department of Defense, we aim to operate each hospital and clinic so that it improves the lives and health of our patients. It’s more than a pledge – it’s our mission. (DoD photo)

Great outcomes, a ready medical force, satisfied patients

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

State of the art procedure is the first within DoD

Article
10/28/2019
Retired Capt. Eugene Chalaire was the first to undergo an intricate cancer-preventive procedure performed at Womack Army Medical Center this summer. Womack is the first within the DoD to offer this service. (U.S. Army photo)

Only a handful of medical centers in the United States perform this surgery

Recommended Content:

Technology | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Continuing Implementation of the Reform of the Military Health System

Policy

This memorandum directs the continued implementation of the Military Health System (MHS) organizational reform required by 10 U.S.C. § 1073c, and sections 71 land 712 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The DoD policy for this reform is guided by the goals of improved readiness, better health, better care, and lower cost. The Department will advance these objectives through specific organizational reforms directed by Congress and the continued direction of the Secretary of Defense·anct the National Defense Strategy.

The Defense Health Agency participates in AUSA 2019 annual meeting

Article
10/18/2019
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, DHA Director, discusses upcoming Military Health System changes designed to improve the readiness of combat forces during a seminar held at the Association of the United States Army 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.  Lt. Gen. Place explained how DHA is standardizing systems to improve healthcare across the enterprise.  (DHA Photo by Hannah Wagner)

Focus on quality care, innovation at home and on the battlefield

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health

No effort spared to bring home seriously wounded Soldier

Article
10/17/2019
Air Force Capt. Natasha Cardinal, 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron critical care nurse, monitors her patient during a flight from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan to San Antonio, Texas. Critical care air transport teams are rapidly deployable teams consisting of a physician, critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist who provide a mobile intensive care unit for complex, critically wounded patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Mancuso)

The priority the military places on saving the lives of its service members is unparalleled

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics

TRICARE website expands to include military hospital sites

Article
10/16/2019
The TRICARE website is growing. As of Oct. 1, TRICARE welcomed several military hospitals and clinics to its website.

By 2021, more than 350 individual military hospital and clinic websites will move to TRICARE.mil.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Hospitals and Clinics

The Military Training Network transitions to the Defense Health Agency

Article
10/11/2019
The Military Training Network or MTN transferred from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to the Defense Health Agency in September 2019. MTN oversees basic, advanced, and pediatric life-support training for more than 350,000 medical and non-medical personnel at 345 military facilities around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexandra Singer)

Shift speeds training where it’s needed most

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Soldier self-amputates leg to aid battle buddies

Article
10/9/2019
Army Spc. Ezra Maes undergoes physical rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center's cutting-edge rehabilitation center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Oct. 2, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Corey Toye)

If I didn't help myself, my crew, no one was going to

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Warrior Care

The Head, Hand, and Heart of Women’s Health

Article
10/4/2019
Maintaining peak health is critical for all military personnel. This month, we focus on women whose health concerns and symptoms may be different from those in men. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Roger Jackson)

Health is universal for military personnel and civilians, but some health concerns affect women differently. Here are a few examples.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 44

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.