Skip to main content

Military Health System

METC improves surgical tech training with new laparoscopy standard

Image of Surgical team in operating room. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Wesley Middleton (left) and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Domenick Llanda (right), instructors in the Medical Education and Training Campus Surgical Technologist program, conduct a mock laparoscopic procedure while Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Forest Stewart (center), also an instructor, assists the team. (Photo by Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs.)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Research and Innovation | Health Care Technology | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus

Army, Navy and Air Force Surgical Technologist (ST) students at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) located aboard Joint Base San-Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas are becoming more familiar with laparoscopic procedures thanks to a curriculum update and new laparoscopic equipment that was added to the surgical training simulators.

A laparoscopy is a low-risk, non-invasive surgical procedure used to examine organs inside the abdomen and repair or remove tissue. It requires only small incisions and utilizes an instrument called a laparoscope, a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The surgeon inserts the laparoscope through an incision in the abdominal wall and views the images on a video monitor while conducting the procedure.

Laparoscopic surgery was introduced to the METC ST program in May 2020 to familiarize all students with the procedures and equipment as part of the program’s consolidated Phase I, or didactic, training. Army Sgt. 1st Class Merle Nalder, the program director, explained how it was time to move away from the open appendectomy surgery that had been the standard used to evaluate students for roughly 25 years.

“The open appendectomy is not the standard out in the surgical world anymore,” stated Nalder. “More and more they’re going to laparoscopic procedures. Even in the military field environment we’re moving toward laparoscopies. The military medical services all recognized the need to change.”

Nalder explained that all ST students receive blocks of instruction on the minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. At the culmination of Phase I, students are evaluated on their ability to perform, from start to finish, an exploratory laparotomy, or open belly case, which is a low-fidelity simulated surgery.

Updates were made to convert a simulated general operating room, previously used for mock open appendectomies, into a laparoscopic simulator by adding a laparoscopic tower, which includes a camera and light source, specialized laparoscopic instruments, and reusable devices.

Surgical team in operating room
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Wesley Middleton (left) removes a "liver" during a mock laparotomy assisted by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Domenick Llanda (right).  (Photo by Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs.)

Also added were sophisticated mannequins which provide more realism to the mock open laparotomy and laparoscopy cases, helping to better prepare the students. The mannequins can support up to 50 different types of laparoscopic procedures and allow for life-like scenarios. “The parts are a little more realistic, the skin feels much more realistic, and they have a blood pump which causes blood to flow throughout the mannequin’s system,” explained Nalder. “The blood fills the cavity very quickly and the flow will then actually rupture a blood vessel or artery, depending on the scenario, lending that realism to the simulation.”

With the blood pump, Nadler said, instructors can simulate different types of situations causing organ damage or distress, whereas in the past they could only simulate one type of procedure with the open appendectomy.

“Our new curriculum requires us to evaluate our students on an open laparotomy, and with these mannequins we can choose which cases we want the students to experience,” stated Nalder. “This gives instructors the latitude to expose students to multiple types of surgeries in comparison to what we had before.”

Nalder said that aspect has changed this portion of the training from a passive to an active type of learning where students are more involved. “I feel that the students appreciate it more and they get more out of it rather than the simple step by step open appendectomy scenario.”

Not only has the standard surgical procedure been updated in the consolidated portion of the training, but the Navy has updated its service-specific training as well.

“We updated the curriculum based on direct feedback from the fleet to ensure the training courses align with fleet requirements,” stated Navy Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Bradshaw, the program’s Navy service lead.

Twenty-one hours of laparoscopic surgery training was added to the Navy-specific curriculum.  The training includes a mock laparoscopic surgery and a didactic test which are not part of the consolidated training.

Navy students may good candidates to receive the additional training because enlisted sailors arrive with prior medical training. “Before they arrive in the Surgical Technologist program, or any enlisted medical program, Navy students have to go through the METC Hospital Corpsman Basic program where they learn basic medical knowledge consisting of pre-hospital, inpatient and outpatient medical care,” Bradshaw explained.

Navy students are taught how to assemble and process complex laparoscopic instruments, recognize thoracic surgery pathologies, and safely prepare for minimal invasive clinical procedures.

According to Bradshaw, the added benefit of implementing the new curriculum is that the students are exposed to laparoscopic surgery prior to entering the clinical portion of the program. “This exposure allows for our students to enter the operating room with some familiarity to laparoscopic procedures, to include the equipment and setup.

“Additionally,” she continued, “adding the laparoscopic curriculum is in line with the Navy Surgeon General's 2020 priorities of optimizing our people, platforms, performance, and power; specifically performance, because we are very much ensuring that we are meeting and exceeding military medical knowledge, skill, and ability standards in order to use data driven decisions to optimize a medically ready force and prepare a ready medical force.” 

You also may be interested in...

Theater Enterprise-Wide Logistics Systems (TEWLS)

Fact Sheet
8/12/2022

TEWLS consolidates numerous military logistics functions into a single application and database.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Solution Delivery Division

AHLTA 3.3

Fact Sheet
8/12/2022

AHLTA 3.3, a major component of the military’s electronic health record, is the primary clinical information system used by the military’s medical community to help generate, maintain, store and securely access data for 9.5 million beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Corpsman Care during Atlantic Ocean ops on MSC ship

Article Around MHS
8/4/2022
Military medical personnel performing emergency surgery

There’s a reason why U.S. Navy independent duty corpsmen are found assigned on isolated platforms from the wide expanse of the Indo-Pacific Theater to the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Wellness Fair Showcases Ample Resources at Naval Hospital Bremerton

Article Around MHS
8/2/2022
Military personnel demonstrating a grip therapy

Naval Hospital Bremerton hosted a holistic Wellness Fair in late July 2022.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Nutritional Fitness | Health Readiness Support

Robotically-Assisted Surgical Technology Expands Capabilities

Article Around MHS
8/1/2022
Military medical personnel uses robotics

Robotically-assisted surgery may sound like something from a futuristic science fiction movie to some, but it is actually a safe and increasingly common method shown to deliver better outcomes for patients than traditional surgery.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Research and Innovation

Soldiers Not Immune to Damage of Sun's Rays

Article Around MHS
7/28/2022
Soldiers not immune to damage of sun’s rays

Some soldiers have a greater risk for developing skin cancer than others. For July’s UV Safety Awareness month, soldiers should be aware of their risks and how to reduce their chances of skin cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Summer Safety

Mind-Body Mental Fitness

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Mountain view

The lifestyle of active duty service members and their families comes with unique stressors that can often be compounded by living overseas. What most people don’t realize is that stress is a normal part of life. The feelings of stress are just indicators that something in our life needs attention, and even presents a possibility for positive change and growth.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Stress | Mental Health is Health Care

Teddy Roosevelt, Navy Medicine, and the Birth of Physical Readiness

Article Around MHS
7/25/2022
Military personnel in exercise drill on deck of Navy ship

Today’s U.S. Navy espouses a “culture of fitness,” and “physical readiness,” but this was not always the case. In the early 1900s, many including the president himself, Theodore Roosevelt, were appalled by the lack of physical conditioning in the Navy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness

U.S. Army Mobile Laboratory Earns International Accreditation for Air Monitoring

Article Around MHS
7/20/2022
Military personnel evaluate lab results

A U.S. Army civilian mobile expeditionary laboratory has earned International Standards Organization 17025 accreditation for air monitoring.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Environmental Exposures

Family Care Plan Sustains Unit Readiness

Article Around MHS
7/20/2022
Military personnel hugs family member

A Family Care Plan (FCP) is a method by which the Army ensures a Soldier’s Family is taken care of when the Soldier is absent due to military requirements.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

DHA Program Supports Training Education of Future Medical Providers

Article
7/20/2022
Military personnel looking at display

The Clinical Investigations Program combines research and training to teach and develop the future clinicians of the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Health Care Technology | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Power Plate: Eat to Fuel Your Performance

Article Around MHS
7/19/2022
Infographic for Power Plate

Food is our secret weapon. When planned and executed well food can supply everything our bodies need to thrive, whether we’re running a marathon or taking a rest day.

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Nutritional Fitness

The Need for Speed Requires Intense Training

Article
7/18/2022
 Military personnel conducts routine ops in US 3rd Fleet

Tom Cruise has nothing on real military pilots and their training.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Physical Fitness

Medical Airmen Crew Ambulance, Keep Mission Ready

Article Around MHS
7/18/2022
Military personnel inspect an ambulance

Airmen with the 75th Medical Group here are staying mission ready by crewing Hill AFB’s ambulance service alongside firefighters from the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Emergency Preparedness and Response

DHA Leads NATO's Historical Medical Interoperability Exercise

Article
7/15/2022
Officers watch a presentation in a room.

The Defense Health Agency collaborated with NATO and partner organizations for CWIX 2022 held in Poland, 6-24 June.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Global Health Engagement | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 54
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 20, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery