39th MDG Airmen partner with Acıbadem University to enhance training and readiness

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  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 39th Medical Group attended medical training at the Acıbadem University's Center of Advanced Simulation and Education, the only center of its kind, Oct. 26-28, in Istanbul.

“The main goal and objective for our medics here at Acıbadem is keeping them mentally and physically sharp to provide medical care for patients in a hospital as well as in the field,” said Master Sgt. Garrett Medley, 39th Medical Group enlisted functional manager for medical technicians.

The medical team, which consisted of a clinical nurse and two enlisted medical technicians, performed a spectrum of training scenarios ranging from clinical patient care to tactical combat casualty care. They also capitalized on the opportunity to use the facility’s virtual reality capabilities to perform basic life-saving skills.

Typical training exercises are usually dialogue-based, meaning the Airmen are communicating with their instructors to ensure what they are doing is correct. Medley noted that Acıbadem’s CASE facility enables Airmen to experience highly realistic, interactive technology that offers real-time feedback between the actual patient and medical provider, which greatly enhances the level of training and readiness for Airmen.

“We’re moving past the dialogue of care for training and moving towards more realistic, hands-on training because that’s what actually sharpens your tools for when you’re put in those real life situations and keeps you confident and in control,” said Medley. “The Acıbadem simulation center has this technology that can exhibit a multitude of health issues to include strokes, heart attacks, trauma and all sorts of other potential problems. This allows us to focus on some more acute diseases or diagnoses that we can’t find anywhere else, aside from real life.”

With more realistic training, Airmen are able to have more confidence in the care that they are providing, according to 1st Lt. Logan Head, a clinical nurse assigned to the 39th OMRS.

“It’s constant repetition, the more you practice something the more you’re going to be ready for it,” she said. “The live feedback is giving us real-time stuff. It’s not just ‘oh, this mannequin is healthy now.’ We’re actually receiving that feedback from the mannequin itself, which is a lot more realistic. This is as close as we’re going to get to real life, nothing else compares.”

Head added that the scenarios not only sharpen their technical skills, but also strengthen her team’s relationship and ability to work together.
“You need to have a lot of trust with your medics and you need to know what they’re capable of, not only skills-wise but what kind of stress they can handle in any type of environment,” said Head. “Being in these stressful situations together is really beneficial to see how we all interact. I’m able to trust that they know what they need to do while keeping a cool head.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Kelly, 39th OMRS commander and 39th MDG chief nursing officer, said the budding relationship between the 39th MDG and Acıbadem University will help Incirlik Air Base’s medical professionals be better prepared for tomorrow’s fight.

“Especially in a remote location, these partnerships are absolutely critical,” said Kelly. “It’s hard to sustain medical readiness skills in a remote location, and now we’re able to close the training gaps we might have. We talk about people, partnerships, readiness and posture; these are all things we’re able to accomplish when we partner with training platforms located within our host nation.”

Kelly discussed future partnerships and training with Acibadem University for the 39th MDG and Air Force medical personnel all across the European and African region.

“We hope to one day expand this training partnership to include other bases across U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa in order to bolster the continued readiness of our medics, specifically in austere and combat environments,” said Kelly.