New SMART rotation of military personnel takes placeSep. 27, 2023, 10:57 AM
by Jill Clendening
The latest Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training (SMART) rotation, which included 12 members of the United States military, recently came to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to work in clinical areas of the adult hospital.
The U.S. Army Medical Command developed Operation SMART to establish partnerships with civilian health care facilities and verified Level One trauma centers such as VUMC to enhance the training of military medical personnel.
“This will be our ninth SMART rotation, and we continue to see increasing percentages of the number of skills completed by the rotators. Usually, the list of skills, known as their ICTLs or Individual Critical Tasks Lists, is accomplished annually, and Vanderbilt is providing exposure of 70%-80% of that skill list in a two-week rotation,” said Chris Brown, Critical Care Paramedic 4, SMART coordinator and trauma outreach educator. “It is a phenomenal opportunity to provide skills sustainment training for our military health care colleagues, and we continue to have overwhelming support from all of the hospital departments involved.”
While these personnel are well equipped to provide routine health care for soldiers and their families, they often have limited exposure to trauma and critical care during non-deployment military medical service. The SMART program enables them to sustain and expand their skills as they care for a greater number of high-acuity patients. High-acuity patients are those with challenging medical conditions who often have significant, unpredictable needs requiring a high level of monitoring and care.
To date, 106 military members have trained at the Medical Center as part of the SMART program since its inception in May 2021. During their two weeks at VUMC, SMART participants rotate through the emergency department, operating rooms, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Post-anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Burn Intensive Care Unit, Trauma Intensive Care Unit, Labor & Delivery and Orthopaedic Clinic.
SMART rotators are licensed or certified in their specialty, and while at VUMC they are active in all aspects of patient care, from triage to discharge. Each SMART participant has an individual critical task list (ICTL), or a list of specific skills required by the U.S. Army to maintain their combat readiness. During their rotation, there is an emphasis on patient assessment, trauma resuscitations, and medication and blood administration.