Air Force Nurses Training In Emergency Trauma In Scottsdale

By Nick Blumberg
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 10:55am
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 3:29pm
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(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
From left, U.S. Air Force Capt. Patrick Nugent, Maj. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Capt. Weston Winn, 1st Lt. Katrina Chu and Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network CEO Tom Sadvary cut the ribbon for the Air Force nursing fellowship program.
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Air Force Capt. Patrick Nugent is one of the nurses in the current class of fellows.
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Some of the mannequins used in simulations at Scottsdale Healthcare.

Nurses serving in the United States Air Force are now training in intensive and emergency care in the Valley. It is the only program of its kind at a civilian hospital.

Hospital, military and political leaders kicked off the Critical Care and Emergency Trauma Nursing Fellowship at Scottsdale Healthcare on Thursday morning. During the year-long program, Air Force nurses get classroom and hands-on training in specialties like emergency trauma and burn and pediatric intensive care.

Maj. Gen. Dorothy Hogg is chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps. She said during the last decade-plus, military health care providers have learned a lot about trauma care. Now, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down...

"We don't want to lose that," Hogg said. "I'm sure there will be other contingencies that will come up that we will need to have those skills, so we need to maintain and keep them sharp and ready. The only way to do that is to partner with our civilian facilities that have high-level trauma kinds of experiences."

Like Scottsdale Healthcare, a Level 1 trauma center. Arizona Rep. Heather Carter sponsored a successful bill this year that removed some of the red tape for out-of-state troops coming in for programs like this one. Military medics licensed in other states are no longer responsible for additional paperwork or fees to train in Arizona.

"We were really putting in an additional step here at the state," Carter said. "It was taking a longer time for people to be able to come here and train, and in some cases was a complete roadblock."

The first round of fellows has started with three nurses. One of them is Air Force Capt. Patrick Nugent.

"Not many programs are a year-long for an ICU or an ER fellowship," Nugent said. "The Air Force is fortunate enough to be able to have the resources, along with Scottsdale Healthcare, where we can train for a full year and then apply that anywhere in the world when we deploy."

Part of the training uses extremely lifelike mannequins that breathe, bleed, have heart attacks, give birth, get impaled, lose limbs. They can recreate a wide range of emergencies Air Force nurses might face. The simulations are limited by two things, imagination and budget.

"We've done things like making wounds out of bathroom caulking," said Vance Nesbitt, the simulation center's coordinator.

He said just like Hollywood, they're always trying to up the realism, just without all of Hollywood's money. I got to see some intestines made from bathroom caulking. In my non-professional opinion, they looked pretty real.

"When [the nurses] walk in the room, they may be thinking 'mannequin' in the back of their head, but the minute they walk in the room it’s an 'OMG' moment and they need to do what they need to do to their patient, which is take care of them."

The next fellows are set to start about three months from now.

Updated 11/1/2013 at 1:34 p.m.

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