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ANG medics maintain readiness with University of Kansas Health System

Maj. Penny Glenn (center), a critical care nurse with the 190th Medical Group and education specialist with The University of Kansas Health System (TUKHS), trains a guard member during a clinical rotation at TUKHS, June 20, 2017. The 190th Medical Group, part of the 190th Kansas Air National Guard Air Refueling Wing, has an established partnership with TUKHS to ensure Airmen maintain their clinical currency to deliver care downrange. (Courtesy photo)

Maj. Penny Glenn (center), a critical care nurse with the 190th Medical Group and education specialist with The University of Kansas Health System (TUKHS), trains a guard member during a clinical rotation at TUKHS, June 20, 2017. The 190th Medical Group, part of the 190th Kansas Air National Guard Air Refueling Wing, has an established partnership with TUKHS to ensure Airmen maintain their clinical currency to deliver care downrange. (Courtesy photo)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Air National Guard Airmen are key to supporting Total Force readiness. Training agreements with civilian hospitals are vital to helping them achieve this support.

The 190th Medical Group, part of the 190th Kansas Air National Guard Air Refueling Wing, has a partnership with The University of Kansas Health System to provide Airmen with opportunities to maintain currency.

“The training agreement provides Kansas Air National Guard medics with the best skillset they could possibly have before they go downrange into theater,” said Tech. Sgt. Devin Shrum, non-commissioned officer in charge of the agreement between the 190th MDG and TUKHS. “TUKHS is one of the best hospitals in the state to stay current on a variety of trauma scenarios. It gives us that hands-on experience that most of our medics wouldn’t normally get to see.”

Before partnering with TUKHS, the 190th did their trauma training in-house, requiring trauma surgeons to travel to the base to train Airmen. After finalizing the agreement, medical Airmen now regularly work with surgeons during their rotations once every three months to improve capabilities and gain experience with various trauma care specialties.

“Our Airmen do clinical rotations through the emergency department, the burn intensive care unit, the surgical trauma ICU, or the neuro ICU,” said Maj. Penny Glenn, a critical care nurse with the 190th Medical Group and education specialist with TUKHS. “This gives them a chance to be exposed to the type of patients they could see when they deploy.”

With the agreement, these medics are able to get training on a wide variety of vital clinical practices such as starting an IV line, doing sutures, and some invasive procedures.

“They walk through several clinical procedures to get more confident and comfortable with those skills,” said Shrum. “Sticking an IV on a mannequin arm is good training, but to actually perform that on a live patient is irreplaceable training that you can’t get in a simulation.”

Through these quarterly training opportunities, Guard members from the 190th MDG stay current in the necessary clinical skills that keep them ready to deploy.

“The way the agreement is set up, these Airmen are able to keep their skills fresh so it is not years between trainings, only a few months,” said Glenn. “They get exposure to things they would not normally see during their drill weekends, like seeing how certain medical devices function in the emergency department. It helps put those pieces together so they are much more proficient when they deploy.”

Because of the agreement’s success, another guard unit, the 184th Intelligence Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, was added a little more than a year ago.

“The initial agreement has been growing legs,” said Glenn. “It is exciting to see because there is so much military and civilian medical knowledge that needs to be shared. Working together and learning from one another is beneficial. I feel confident that I can count on my fellow guard members because I know they are coming up and receiving that same level of clinical training and exposure.”
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