Skills Lab provides Reservists opportunity

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hull
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
For many Reserve medical technicians, completing the required training can be an overwhelming task. From checking a patient's vital signs to performing life saving measures, staying proficient is a must.

The Regional Skills Laboratory operated by the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, is the only one of its kind in the Air Force Reserve. It provides Reservists a realistic environment to learn and practice their skills.

"The more realistic you can make it the better your Airmen can be prepared to deal with real life situations," said Lt. Col. Deborah Sands, 446th ASTS chief nurse. "The lab provides an area where our medical technicians and nurses can train for deployment."

The skills lab is broken into 10 stations. Each station focuses on different parts of the body or specialized care including pulmonary, cardiac, orthopedic, and wound management.

The lab also has a high-tech patient simulator called the METIman. The simulator is a lifelike mannequin that allows instructors the ability to input scenarios for realistic training. The METIman can breathe, talk, cry and even bleed. Controlled by a wireless tablet, an instructor can change the simulated patient's condition based on what the students are doing.

The $60,000 simulator is portable and can be used in the field as well. This past summer the METIman was used during the Care Under Fire training.

"Having this lab allows us to teach classes every Reserve weekend," said Capt. Eddie Gonzalez, officer in charge of the 446th ASTS skills lab. "Having tools such as the METIman helps Airmen to maintain their skills when they go into the field."
The 446th ASTS hosts training for other units as well.

This past year 11 different units from different branches of the armed services benefitted from the lab allowing them to enhance their medical abilities.

"The more hands-on practice I get in the skills lab, the better my own skills become," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Eckert Jr., medical technician for the 446th ASTS. "The better my own skills are, the better I can teach others."