By Staff Sgt. Ty Stafford
FORT HOOD, Texas - Medics from the Headquarters Support Company, 35th Infantry Division, Missouri National Guard, received emergency medical training while participating in a field support exercise for the III Corps at Fort Hood for their annual training June 3-22.
This training is the same as they would receive if they were mobilizing to a theater of operations overseas.
"We have seven medics for the exercise, and rather than have them sitting inside the tactical operations center I wanted them to get some training in the medical field," said Staff Sgt. Tonya Schelp, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the medics, who lives in Kansas City.
So in a partnership with the Fort Hood Darnall Army Hospital, the four medics were put through a 10 hour program involving emergency medicine.
Participating in the training were Spcs. Brianna Ebersold, Ashlie Mason and Michael Snodell along with Pfc. Jacqueline Woods.
Ebersold and Mason grew up nine miles apart in Kings City and Union Star and were high school rivals. Now, they are teammates in the emergency room for training.
"It has been a real eye opener," said Mason, "I thought I knew medical but I didn't. In training we use dummies to practice an IV stick so you have a landmark every time for a reference to stick the needle. On a real patient its different you actually have to search for the vein sometimes."
"This training sticks with me better having a real patient," she said.
The medics training included more than IV sticks.
"We did blood draws, EKG's, splints and a lot of stuff the emergency room staff do on a regular basis, but we don't," Ebersold said.
Both Ebersold and Mason share a passion for helping people, and Mason particularly found medicine interesting beginning her junior year of high school.
"I was in tech school and attended an anatomy and physiology class," Mason said. "There's so much to learn about the human body."
Also attending the training were Snodell and Woods.
Woods, a Blue Springs native, is planning on attending nursing school in the fall.
"This training is pretty awesome," she said. "Training at the unit you can only do so much without a doctor or physician's assistant on hand. Working with the NCOs and officers here is some of the best training we can get."
Getting hands-on experience versus classroom instruction is what Snodell craved the most.
"We are blessed to get this training," he said.
Life in an emergency room was laid back at times, but the few trauma cases they observed created a stressful environment conducive to learning.
"We saw a lot of different patients, from infant to elderly," Woods said. "It was a nice change from the normal healthy Soldier parameter we are used to seeing."
Snodell, from Kansas City, said that when they were training with patients, they knew if they made a mistake, the hospital staff would be blamed. That added pressure only enhanced their training.
"They taught us what to do and ensured we did everything right," he said.
At the end of their 10-day cycle each of these Soldiers will receive a certificate of completion for their training and will be able to add to their resumes. More importantly for the Soldiers of the 35th ID, they now know they have qualified medics who can treat and sustain them if ever they need them.
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