September Spotlight: Summer Medical Training in New York

Emergency physicians help New York Guard Soldiers hone medical skills

ARNG NY Medical Training

Pfc. Tyler Kinzel, New York Army National Guard Medical Command, begins bag-mask ventilating a medical mannequin after inserting an endotracheal tube through the esophagus under the direction of Dr. Anar Patel. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone)

New York Army National Guard medical Soldiers turned their training up a notch last month when they got some hands-on instruction from experienced emergency room doctors.

Dr. Anar Patel, an emergency medicine associate professor, and Dr. Erica Igbindghene, another emergency medicine specialist, took a day away from their regular jobs at Albany Medical Center to share their specialist skills with the Medical Command (MEDCOM) Soldiers.

The two have three years of combined experience working as resident physicians in the medical center’s emergency room.

“Working with a few civilian counterparts gives our Soldiers an edge.” said Col. James Coleman, the New York Army National Guard State surgeon. “They (the doctors) provide a level of training that most of the Soldiers haven’t gotten before, especially in emergency situations while manning a Combat Support Hospital.”

The doctors spent the entire day instructing small groups of Soldiers on two key life-saving skills.

Working with a medical mannequin at Camp Smith’s Medical Simulation Center, they taught the Soldiers how to insert a laryngoscope through the throat in order to open an air passage. They also taught the medical troops how to put an endotracheal tube into the lungs to that a bag-mask ventilator can be applied to assist a patient’s breathing.

The Medical Simulation Center is filled with advanced-level, hospital-based medical mannequins that are connected to computers. These computers monitor the vital signs of the computerized “patients” so that the students know what works best in a life-saving emergency.

Sgt. Rachelle Cunningham, a medic team leader from Lee Center, N.Y., said that training with the emergency room doctors was extremely useful.

When her Soldiers went through the training, she made it a point to have a junior Soldier take charge of each drill.

“I like to place the younger Soldiers who are not experienced into a more senior role.” Cunningham said. “By doing that, they are forced to see things their way and then later make suggestions that we might not have thought of during the training.”

Along with honing their medical skills, the MEDCOM Soldiers also worked on basic military skills, like map reading and land navigation. In one exercise, for example, the troops had to navigate their way to the simulation center and then treat wounded troops coming in from the field, including working with Patel and Igbindghene.

For the two emergency room doctors, their day training with the National Guard was very worthwhile, Patel said.

“I’m definitely all in for this type of training,” she said. “I will spread the word around Albany Medical Center about the high level of training that the New York National Guard does here and bring more doctors here the next time.”

If you have an interest in medical training, a career in the Army National Guard may be a great option for you. Check out the Guard’s jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

Original article by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone, New York National Guard, appeared last month in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

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