Back to Top Skip to main content

METC combat medic training unveils new EMT sim labs

A team of combat medic trainees attend to a "patient" in the EMT warehouse lab.  Students engage in various scenarios in the newly designed EMT simulation labs that resemble real environments that expose students to lifelike patient encounters. (U.S. Army photo by Lisa Braun) A team of combat medic trainees attend to a "patient" in the EMT warehouse lab. Students engage in various scenarios in the newly designed EMT simulation labs that resemble real environments that expose students to lifelike patient encounters. (U.S. Army photo by Lisa Braun)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Emergency medical technician training is an integral part of the Department of Combat Medic Training (DCMT) program at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC). Located on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, DCMT trains its students to effectively treat pre-hospital patients during emergency and non-emergency conditions in a variety of operational and clinical environments.

Students spend the first seven weeks in the 16-week program learning basic EMT skills and must pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam in order to move on to the next phase in the program.

Normally, students enrolled in an EMT program will ride along in an ambulance as well as conduct clinical rotations as part of their training. Because of the large number of students that DCMT trains – between 300 and 400 per class - it is not feasible to deliver this type of experience. Instead, training consisted of classroom lecture followed by simulated patient interactions - hands-on scenarios using partial manikins or classmates as “patients”, usually positioned on the floor or tables in an otherwise uninspiring lab space.

“The training labs were beginning to run their course,” stated Chris Kwader, DCMT simulation supervisor. “They were becoming boring and stale, and didn’t provide students with any sort of realistic patient encounter.”

EMT simulation staff Sara Miller, Mario Ramon and Jeffrey Schuld realized this and took matters into their own hands.

“Through the creativity of the DCMT EMT simulation staff, five different lab settings were designed to not only increase the students’ situational awareness, but also to expose students to real world patient encounters while in the learning environment,” Kwader explained.

Miller, an EMT instructor and supervisor of two of the sim labs, said that because her labs were the first to be finished, there was a brief overlap in the beginning with some students having used both the old and new labs. “The students like the interaction better in the new labs,” she stated. “The settings make it more realistic for them which they like because they feel like they’re interacting more with the patient.” 

The “patients” are hi-fidelity Human Patient Simulators (HPS), or manikins, which are placed throughout the labs in five separate simulation rooms. Each lab room is constructed to resemble a different environment, complete with props and settings designed to give the space a realistic feel. The environments include a business office, a park and bodega, a warehouse, a residence, and a hospital emergency room. The “patient” might have suffered a traumatic injury or experienced a medical emergency. Students will enter one of the simulation rooms and assess their patient according to the given scenario. The HPS’s can be programmed to present vital signs, symptoms, and even talk, making the patient interaction that more realistic.

“It’s definitely different performing a live hands-on analysis than it is in the classroom just discussing it,” said Army Spc. Eric Blanchard, a DCMT student. “It’s good to get out there before working with real people to get more comfortable going through the motions. Even though it was a little nerve wracking, I enjoyed it and I hope to do more and get even better.”

Blanchard’s classmate, Army Pvt. Joshua Becker said that the training helped him to listen to everything the patient is telling him and to try to get on their level to understand what’s happening to them. “Being there with the manikin and understanding what to do and seeing everything happen is a lot different from just trying to go over it in class or with a friend.” He said the setting helped with the realism as well. “It is kind of different seeing the patient in a kitchen instead of on the classroom floor.”

The EMT simulation labs took four months to build, starting in September 2019 and completed at the end of January 2020. About 4,800 students are projected to run through the simulation labs each year.

EMT instructor Army Sgt. Latrelle Brigham experienced a lab for the first time while overseeing Blanchard, Becker and their team’s training scenario. “It’s different to be on this side of the spectrum as opposed to actually going through the lanes because I was in their position at one time,” she commented.

“The sim labs have really come a long way from when I went through,” Brigham continued. “The technology has really improved as far as the manikins can breathe, they can talk and their eyes move. I like the set up for the labs. We didn’t have any of that. The students now get a better feel for actual patients.”

Blanchard summed up the experience by explaining that there are certain things he and his fellow classmates are not going to realize in a classroom, such as how a patient might respond to questions.

“We’re doing this as professionals,” said Blanchard, “so getting more training under us and understanding more about patient interaction is going to make all the difference.”

You also may be interested in...

Air Force Unit provides worldwide medical response capability

Article
10/15/2020
Two military personnel loading equipment onto an aircraft

The 379th EAES crews provide time sensitive in-flight patient care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

DHA’s Vaccine Safety Hubs emphasize safety

Article
9/29/2020
Soldier filling a vaccine needle

How MHS works to improve “all things vaccine related."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Army radiology instructor and medic render assistance to crash victim

Article
9/2/2020
Mom and Dad in military gear with their young son.

Their medical training helped with knowing the steps for CPR and how to check responsiveness and breathing.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 9 - September 2020

Report
9/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2015–June 2020; Incidence of inguinal hernia and repair procedures and rate of subsequent pain diagnoses, active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2019; Surveillance of spotted fever rickettsioses at Army installations in the U.S. Central and Atlantic regions, 2012–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Article
8/24/2020
Two technicians in full PPE in a lab

COVID-19 has shed new light on the methods of conducting medical training and education.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Article
8/7/2020
Two lab technicians wearing full PPE handling vials for testing

COVID-19 has pushed instructors and trainers to be more innovative.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

Indiana National Guard continues to train in the COVID-19 environment

Article
8/5/2020
Soldiers in the field, wearing masks and testing equipment

Training in a time of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 8 - August 2020

Report
8/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Commentary: The limited role of vaccines in the prevention of acute gastroenteritis; Diarrhea and associated illness characteristics and risk factors among British active duty service members at Askari Storm training exercise, Nanyuki, Kenya, January–June 2014; Surveillance snapshot: Norovirus outbreaks in military forces, 2015–2019; Update: Incidence of acute gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2019.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Defending the Homeland: NMRTC Bremerton ensures Operational Readiness and a Medically Ready Force

Article
7/22/2020
Three healthcare workers wearing masks

Supporting mission readiness has long been a responsibility for the ready medical force of NMRTC Bremerton.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Eighth Army Medics compete to see Who’s the Best

Article
7/21/2020
Soldiers on an obstacle course

The BMC is an annual competition that physically and intellectually challenges competitors.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

I am Navy Medicine: Lt. Daniel Murrish

Article
7/9/2020
Image of Lt. Daniel Murrish wearing a mask

Murrish was recently selected as NMRTCCP’s Officer of the Year for calendar year 2019.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 7 - July 2020

Report
7/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hearing conservation measures of effectiveness across the Department of Defense; Alcohol-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and co-occurring injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2009–2018; Surveillance snapshot: Cervical cancer screening among U.S. military service women in the Millennium Cohort Study, 2003–2015; Epidemiology of functional neurological disorder, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Defending the Homeland: BACH Civilian earns RHC-A Civilian of the Year

Article
6/26/2020
Soldier and woman standing by two flags, crossed.

[Guidry] will advance to the U.S. Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM) Civilian of the Year competition later this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 37

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.