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Soldiers Share Medical Skills With Iraqi Nurses

American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, Iraq, Aug. 26, 2009 – U.S. soldiers taught Iraqi nursing students how to handle the medical side of a mass-casualty situation Aug. 18.

Army 1st Lt. Teresa Weber, a physician assistant with the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, along with several brigade medics, taught a class on trauma assessment for nursing students at the Azadi Hospital in Iraq’s Kirkuk province.

“This is a vital skill for nurses to know, because if a mass casualty situation happens, there are always going to be more nurses than there are doctors,” Weber said. “Nurses are going to be expected to step up and do what a doctor normally would if there aren’t any around.”

Although the nursing students who attended the training will graduate in a few weeks, they were enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn from Weber.

“This is the first time we have received such a class from the [U.S.] Army,” said Farhad Ali, a nursing student. “I would like to get them all the time. “Although this class was basic, I expect that I will need to know these skills in the future, because I will be working in an emergency room.”

Weber used a trauma dummy to illustrate how to evaluate patients and perform basic lifesaving functions. Following the demonstrations, Weber answered questions, and some students offered suggestions on how they might handle a trauma situation.

“I was really impressed by how much they knew,” Weber said.

After the class, several students said they would like to learn more from Weber prior to graduating from their nursing course. “I would really like to see her come out again,” Ali said.

Based on students’ input, Weber said, she plans to teach additional classes on treating fractures.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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