Medics from the 188th Wing Air National Guard in Fort Smith began a training program at Mercy Fort Smith on June 29.
Mercy and the 188th Medical Group entered into an agreement in December that allows Air Force medical technicians to train in the assessment and treatment of trauma patients. The program allows the medical technicians to train on equipment that otherwise is not available to the 188th Medical Group and provides the medics with both educational preparation and deployment readiness.
The agreement between the 188th Medical Group and Mercy Fort Smith creates opportunities for training for the Air Force as well as extra hands-on assistance for Mercy, which in return improves the quality of care provided to the community and to military personnel in the deployed environment.
"The acute care that the nurses and medics will get to provide to the community will help them learn and prepare for the care they will provide in a deployed setting," said Capt. Tyler Peters, chief nurse administrator with the 188th. Peters added that the program allows the medics to train locally on advanced medical equipment, which is a great benefit.
The medics who began training at Mercy on June 29 are the first to begin the program. Medical personnel with the 188th Medical Group are working alongside Mercy staff, providing real-time acute care to patients while developing skills and knowledge that would be beneficial in a deployed setting.
“Our hospital staff is excited to be working with the 188th medics,” said Dr. Paul Bean, chief of medical affairs at Mercy Fort Smith. “These medics will be working with our highly skilled doctors and nurses in real-world clinical settings. The opportunity to learn in this type of environment will be a great benefit to them, and we are pleased to be able to provide it.”
The 188th Medical Group will focus on providing care to patients in trauma, critical care and wound management. In addition to acute care, the 188th Medical Group will focus on issues such as blast/blunt injuries; pediatric care; neurologic injuries; orthopedic trauma; acute respiratory disorders; pain management; and more.
"The advanced equipment and procedures that Mercy Medical Center provides is exactly the hands-on training that the 188th Medical Group needs to prepare for the deployed setting,” said Staff Sgt. Braylin Richardson, flight and operational medical technician with the 188th. “Providing exceptional care to the community and the war fighter is our top priority."
“I believe this is a great opportunity for us to serve those who serve us in this great country by providing them with the needed readiness training in a more cost-effective manner,” added Bryan Brown, executive director of human resources at Mercy Fort Smith. “Additionally, it allows us the benefit from additional resources while providing this training – a true win-win!”