JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, UNITED STATES –
Editor’s Note: Statements made within this article are attributed to The New England Journal of Medicine
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The 673d Medical Group hosted the Pacific Air Forces Master Trainer Conference for Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behavior-Military at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, June 29th.
Conferences are typically held bi-annually and are aimed at creating master-level trainers across many different avenues of medical care. This iteration of the regionally-based conference included personnel from JBER; Travis Air Force Base, California; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado.
A master-level trainer holds a high level of responsibility that reaches beyond the walls of the classroom; they are tasked with returning to their units to familiarize medical personnel with the fundamentals of the course.
In the 1970s, the Veterans’ Health Administration created the PMDB program as their answer to a standardized workplace prevention program. The difference between PMDB and other similar initiatives is its emphasis on evidence-based practice and every Department of Veterans Affairs employee is required to have their training refreshed on the program every two years.
Historically, the training’s foundation consisted of self-defense and physical restraint techniques, said Capt. Thomas Brownfield, faculty for PMDB and a facilitator for the conference. “Our goal isn’t to take down anyone, our goal is to keep people safe.”
Service members undergo deployments, permanent changes of station, and other changes of location but the capability to carry out PMDB is needed at any given time.Due to the nature of the climate, healthcare workers often face a higher rate of day-to-day violence than many other fields. The violence can occur in many forms, verbal, emotional, and physical, with instances of fatalities having been reported.
Brownfield is a member of a team composed of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army personnel, who aim to ensure continuity amongst military treatment facilities and the way they carry out PMDB.
“When we enable more people to practice and teach PMDB, more people will be kept safe from potential acts of harm,” said Brownfield.
Throughout the course, master trainers are taught the history of PMDB, ways of measuring the initiative’s success and ways to implement intervention based on a patient’s needs, stress level, and more.
Brownfield recognizes that not all patients are the same, it is crucial to address them appropriately based on a number of different factors.
“If a patient makes it hard for you to do your job, it means that there is a certain level of stress that they’re experiencing, there is an appropriate and required response from the care provider,” said Brownfield.
The training ensures that all personnel have the ability to be proactive and respond correctly when encountering difficult situations.