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Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Hones Mentor, Train, and Evaluate Program

18 July 2023

From Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Public Affairs Office

During a 5-month period in early 2023, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL) and U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) employed the Mentor, Train, and Evaluate (MTE) Program on two of the largest ship platforms to improve the deployment readiness of organic fleet medical forces.
The MTE program, which started as a pilot project in 2021, is in the initial operational capability stage where it is being incorporated into the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). MTE consists of the planning and execution of scenarios and simulations where teams of subject matter experts guide and assess current and future medical department capabilities afloat.
“The goal is to maximize shipboard medical capabilities through the use of subject matter experts and high-fidelity simulation drills,” explained Capt. Kathy Kyser, the NMFL regional chief medical officer and MTE program co-lead.
Medical personnel from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Portsmouth and Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8 participated in pier-side trauma drills with ship medical personnel aboard Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The events included simulations of surgery in the ship’s operating room (OR), a head trauma patient, activation of the walking blood bank, and a mental health scenario requiring a medical evacuation.
“The training aboard the Bataan was the first time we added multiple simulations to the medical drills,” said Kyser. “The fleet tells us what their training needs are, and what drills they need in order to keep skills sharp.”
The participants were then evaluated by NMFL staff, as well as surgeons and fleet medical officers from USFFC, Naval Medical Forces Pacific (NMFP), Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 80 who served as mentors and proctors for the training.
“We evaluated the teams based on their own standard operating procedures,” described Capt. Stephanie Higgins, the NMFL chief nursing officer. “Immediate feedback is given during the scenarios along with a debrief for the entire medical department on areas for improvement as well as accolades for excellent processes.”
After the training, the MTE teams provided real-time feedback and after-action reports that identified weaknesses and readiness gaps to build opportunities for future knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and for improving readiness proficiency on operational platforms.  
“Each ship is different and that is why it is important to conduct the training on multiple platforms,” stated Terri Shambach, the NFML lead for improvement sciences. “We have been able to go out and help the fleet make internal improvements through MTE.”
The MTE teams also conducted trainings aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN) 77 underway and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN) 78 pier-side. The next MTE will be led by NMFP in San Diego aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
NMFL, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Europe, and the Middle East.
Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.

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