For graduating medical interns who are going to their first operational assignments as General Medical Officers (GMOs), Flight Surgeons and Undersea Medical Officers, the range and breadth of medical procedures and knowledge they are expected to have mastered can be a bit daunting.
Naval Medical Readiness and Training Commands Portsmouth, San Diego and Bethesda work to dispel those concerns through the Simulation Training for Operational Medical Providers (STOMP) course offered annually in the spring.
A total of 46 physicians are in the process of completing the course at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth this week as they get ready to take on jobs in the Fleet and Fleet Marine Force this summer.
The course is a practical, comprehensive simulation-based course conducted in three phases: Phase I includes standardized patient scenarios for common sick call complaints; Phase II is an opportunity to refresh and practice common skills in the “Skills Rodeo;” Phase III is a series of informational briefs called the PEARLS lectures in Psychiatry, Radiology, and Administration. Taken together, the course provides a refresher of common medical procedures as well as the nuts and bolts of medical care in an operational environment.
“STOMP bridges the gap between the varied clinical exposure that internship affords and the needs of operational commands,” said Capt. Joy Greer, Director, Healthcare Simulation and Bioskills Training Center, NMRTC Portsmouth. “STOMP ensures that our motivated graduates are ready to provide care for sailors and marines in an operational setting.”
In the course, physicians practice a multitude of procedures and review case scenarios from a range of disciplines including general surgery, neurology, orthopedics, cardiology, psychiatry, dermatology, emergency medicine, gynecology, podiatry, ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology, all to ensure physicians are prepared to maintain and support warfighter medical readiness.
The role of the Naval Medical Readiness and Training Commands (NMRTCs) is to hone the skills of those ashore at military treatment facilities to keep medical professionals ready to deploy in support of operational commitments around the globe. This course is one concrete example of how the NMRTCs fulfill that mission.
“First and foremost, we are a readiness and training platform to ensure our whole medical force is prepared to provide the best care in the worst conditions individually and as a team,” said Capt. Shelley Perkins, NMRTC Portsmouth commanding officer. “This program builds on academics by providing a structure to hone skills and build the confidence to know when and how to use those skills. Our people leave here and project medical power supporting U.S. naval superiority all over the world.”
The course also serves as a readiness check to assess and confirm military physician primary care knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) prior to credentialing at their next assignment. Graduates of the courses have even continued to engage with the program, providing feedback on what was most valuable and developing a smartphone app to ensure ready access to materials.
The STOMP course is one way in which Navy Medicine is focused on providing well-trained people, working from well-developed platforms, operating as high performance teams to project medical power in support of naval superiority.