TMC, Davis-Monthan work together to augment training for military medical personnel

BDP41009Master Sgt. Pablo Vasquez may someday be called upon to care for wounded warriors on a faraway battlefield.

The medical techinician has to keep his skills sharp to be ready for that assignment. But rather than travel across the country for those training opportunities, he just had to take a short drive across town, recently spending a week caring for patients at Tucson Medical Center.

TMC is partnering with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to provide week-long rotations designed to augment the training of the skilled medical staff working at the base clinic. The rotations will continue through the year.

“The clinic is a busy place, but we are able to get exposure to a much larger variety of medical needs here at TMC,” said Vasquez, a San Antonio native who came to Tucson in September for a two-year tour of duty. “This is a great opportunity to help enhance the skills and confidence we need when we deploy to a place – whether overseas or here – where these kinds of skills are needed.”

BDP40992As will his counterparts throughout the year, Vasquez spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit, one day at TMC Wound Care Clinic, one day in the medical-surgical units and two days helping to staff the Emergency Department – which alone sees nearly 100,000 patients each year.

Aside from the hands-on training with patients, he said, it was also an opportunity to learn more about hospital operations and best practices. “There are training platforms like this in other cities for other bases, so when I heard about this, I was really excited about the opportunity to obtain more training and education.”

Dr. Michael Lavor, a trauma vascular surgeon and Navy vet who deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 to direct medical operations at a base there, came away from that experience knowing exactly what kind of training soldiers need to care for their colleagues.

As the Honorary Commander for the 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and the former physician leader of TMC Wound Care, he thought there might be a way for those two entities to come together to build a stronger community. He brought leaders from TMC together with leaders from Davis-Monthan to solidify the mutually beneficial training relationship.

“These are medics who are highly trained, but the experience they’re getting at the Wound Care Clinic, for example, is still very valuable,” Lavor said. “When you go to a war zone, you’re going to see wounds. It’s beneficial to learn from the highly experienced nurses here about how to put a dressing on or the different techniques in helping patients heal.”

“It’s one thing to read a book and be told how to do something. That’s an important part of medical school or nursing school – but it’s absolutely critical to then participate in clinical training to apply what you’ve learned. “

From TMC’s perspective, he noted, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the 1 percent of the population who work in military service, he said. “There is no small amount of work involved in setting up these rotations, so I give TMC credit for stepping forward to help support ongoing training of medical personnel.”

Judy Rich, TMC’s president and CEO, was part of those initial sessions with Air Force leaders. “We really salute the work that’s being done by the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe,” she said. “The base is a critical part of Tucson’s economy, but they’re also our neighbor and a huge asset to this community, so we’re pleased to be able to support their readiness and training efforts.”

For more coverage of the effort from Arizona Public Media, visit https://news.azpm.org/p/news-articles/2018/5/31/130552-air-force-and-local-hospital-team-up-for-training/

 


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