WPMC trains AF medics


For Greene County News

FAIRBORN — The Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, has the distinction of being one of eight medical facilities in the world that is responsible for training the next generation of U.S. Air Force medics.

Future Air Force medics begin their training at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where they complete 16 weeks of course work introducing them to the Aerospace Medical Service Apprentice career field. Upon graduation they are sent to facilities like the Wright-Patterson Medical Center to get additional training experience.

Every year the Wright-Patterson Medical Center trains 250 Airmen during phase two of their medic training.

Staff Sgt. John Sharrow, course supervisor for the Aerospace Medical Service Apprentice program here said that the Wright-Patterson Medical Center prepares future medics for the challenges of the job.

“The program we have here is mostly hands on-training – the clinical training that medics need in a hospital setting,” said Sharrow. “While here, students work on everything to prepare them to work in the operational Air Force, including admitting and discharging patients, drawing blood, inserting IV’s, Foley Catheter’s and any interventions that are needed with that patient. This is a pretty challenging course for the students. There’s just so much to learn. It’s a short course, but it’s jammed packed full of hands on skills.”

Part of the course experience includes trauma training.

“If a 911 call comes in and our students are working the ER they’ll go with the medics on the ambulance run,” Sharrow said. “They’ll pick up the patient and asset with the assessment.”

Staff Sgt. Nicole Bevins, assistant course supervisor and career medic went through the course as a young Airmen, which she said helps her relate to the students.

“I get to see things from the student’s perspective because I’ve been there, so I know exactly how they are feeling,” said Bevins. “Whether it is having to get up early or just being scared and intimidated your first day here on the job. You’re taking everything that you learned [at Fort Sam Houston] but didn’t really practice and now you are expected to practice all of those skills on real patients here at the Medical Center.”

Senior Airman Patrick Istefanidis, a student in the course, said that he chose to train to become a medic, because he wanted to make a difference.

“I chose this career field because I wanted to do something that would help people and I don’t have any regrets,” Istefanidis said. “The training has been pretty awesome. We have the luxury of being able to rotate through different clinics and in-patient units, and the ER. It gives us the opportunity to do a lot of different things and it gets us prepared for wherever we are going.”

Story courtesy of Brian Brackens of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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