Medical Education Training Campus (METC), Ft. Sam Houston

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Chris Ryals and Clayton Duke lead The SALUS Groups’ efforts in support of simulation training at the Hospital Corpsman Basic (HCB) “A” School, located at the Medical Education Training Campus (METC), Ft. Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas. The “A” school provides a foundational knowledge of pre-hospital, inpatient and outpatient medical care that aligns with the needs of the modern, expeditionary Navy and Marine Corps. Through classroom instruction, basic skills lab, simulated trauma casualty exercises and clinical practice, students learn Basic Life Support, emergency medical care, patient assessment, primary care, nursing care, shipboard medical care, and Tactical Combat Casualty Care. With an annual throughput of 4,300 students and a large number of medical tasks to teach and validate, METC utilizes medical simulation for over 50% of the students’ hands-on training.

Chris and Clayton are using simulation best practices to drive the design and development of structured learning experiences that engage students in meaningful ways, meet their skill and experience needs and demonstrate proficiency. When asked about training, Chris said, “We support training at the Navy’s HCB program by creating partial task trainers and custom moulage products for students to practice skills upon and prepare for upcoming practical assessments. By using medical simulation best practices, we have been able to increase fidelity and the realism of our scenarios used during their capstone events. We continue to receive positive feedback from both students and staff and have used this momentum to start HCB’s first Lab Development Team. This is a group of active-duty instructors driven to further strengthen their training initiatives utilizing increased medical simulation.”

Simulation exercises, customized 3-D printed models and moulage are all part of an innovative educational approach to enhance learning, improve clinical decision making and technical skills. Chris and Clayton work with METC faculty to strategically integrate modeling and simulation into the existing curriculum. This allows students to learn, practice and repeat as often as necessary to correct mistakes and to develop and refine skills without compromising the safety of real patients. Clayton, who recently became a Certified Healthcare Simulation Operation Specialist, added, “Great medical simulation utilizes a variety of different technologies and mediums to accomplish the goal. One of the cornerstones of our Sim Department is the utilization of 3D printing. Having access to this technology allows us to approach challenges with a whole new frame of mind and create solutions that would have otherwise halted training. We use 3D printing to build task trainers, molds for silicone moulage, and is our go-to tool for fabricating replacement parts for our hi-fidelity manikins.”

As former Navy Corpsmen and METC HCB instructors, now simulation contractors, Chris and Clayton have come full circle. Chris summed up their current experience by stating, “As prior Navy instructors, Clayton and I were always looking for supplemental props and techniques to help us deliver better lectures and training to our students. Now as simulation professionals, we understand that these tools have a name [Medical Simulation] and are confident our methods of supporting our customers will continue to deliver real results and produce confident graduates.”

The SALUS Group, Inc. (SALUS) is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. We specialize in delivering simulation-based healthcare education, and Systems Engineering for the entire lifecycle of Medical Simulation Programs: Management, Training and Technology. SALUS understands that our employees are our most valuable asset, and the delivery of exceptional customer-focused service is the main reason for our success.