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379th EMDG Airmen work to complete MedicX skills certifications

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
Medical personnel with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group have been learning how to swab for COVID-19 testing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as part of the Air Force Surgeon General’s MedicX initiative.

MedicX is a strategic initiative meant to train non-clinical Airmen for tasks that help the medical force be more consistent and standardized in Airmen’s ability to perform simple medical tasks relevant to real-world threats.

Under MedicX, medical personnel in administrative and specific specialty roles take a course to learn five skills to better assist with the base’s COVID-19 pandemic efforts. These sample collections do not extend more than one centimeter deep into the nose, or about the width of a fingernail, so other than swabbing, the skills necessary to become a sample collector are hand hygiene, infection control, bedside manner, and donning and doffing personal protective equipment.

Learning how to administer these procedures allow the 379th EMDG to expand the base’s COVID testing abilities.

“The goal is to create more tactical medical personnel where you can implement them in areas that need supplementary personnel,” said Master Sgt. Javier Pino, a medic for the 379th EMDG and MedicX instructor.

MedicX includes more skills training than just COVID testing, with a total of 26 skills that help with daily routine items that must be completed for patients. Eventually, Airmen will be trained on 72 skills included in the MedicX initiative.

And while the medical group hopes to have everyone trained on the initial five COVID-19 sample collection skills within two months of their arrival to Al Udeid Air Base, the number of people already qualified has doubled.

“The tempo we want to be ready for going forward is an increase in the number of people we are testing without impacting mission-essential offices,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ellwood Tegtmeier, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group superintendent who took the class to become a certified COVID-19 sample collector. “That way we aren’t overwhelming the staff of those offices when we have other people qualified to test who aren’t as in demand day to day.”

Over 50 members of the squadron are able to collect samples: 39 clinical medics and 15 administrative medical personnel who received the MedicX training. In total, once all non-clinical members are trained, there will be over 100 qualified.