Sustainment of medical capabilities for the military critical care flight paramedic

Donald Keen, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The Army has set a goal of training all of its flight medics to the level of critical care paramedics. This is a significant advancement in the scope and complexity of their medical capabilities. However, the Army lacks a sustainment program capable of supporting the ongoing training needed to maintain these capabilities. Using established theory from psychology concerning learning and memory, as well as available research into skill retention from the pre-hospital and hospital based literature, this study was intended to determine how to best design a medical skills sustainment program in order to maintain mission readiness. Evidence has shown that the standard 2-year cycle of re-training is inadequate for sustainment. Substantial decay in knowledge and skill typically occurs by the 3–6 month mark, and possibly sooner for more complex skills. The Army needs a re-design of its sustainment program in terms of both frequency and complexity of training. Recommendations for a way forward rely heavily on simulation based training, on-line didactics, and increasing patient care opportunities in order to provide the best possible care to America’s wounded service men and women.

Subject Area

Medicine|Health education|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Keen, Donald, "Sustainment of medical capabilities for the military critical care flight paramedic" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1598106.