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Brooke Army Medical Center awards first 68W gold badges

Brooke Army Medical Center’s Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, congratulates Sgt. Misti Chan for earning the Gold Badge at an award ceremony Aug. 29. Chan is one of BAMC’s first combat medics to receive the Gold Badge as part of the 68W Utilization Program. (U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields)

Story by Robert Shields

Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — The first four combat medics at Brooke Army Medical Center received the coveted gold badge during an award ceremony held Aug. 29 in the 4th floor auditorium. The gold badge signifies the medic has completed the core skills required as part of the 68W Utilization Program.

To earn the gold badge, medics need to demonstrate their proficiency and knowledge in skills related to direct patient care, table eight validation exercises at Camp Bullis and the simulation lab here. Table eight skills include trauma assessment, airway management, inserting IVs, triage and evacuation, CPR, and validation tests on all of the subjects.

BAMC launched the program at the beginning of this year to increase the readiness of the BAMC enlisted health care specialists assigned here. The program allows the 68Ws to practice the knowledge and the skills they need to maintain their core competencies while maximizing their scope of practice in the direct patient care setting so they are ready when deployed.

BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson said the 68W program is based in a culture of readiness.

“This is BAMC. We know absolutely how to do things the right way,” said Johnson. “Our goal was not only to define readiness but even more so to make sure that the culture of this organization begins to understand that we are going to incorporate these health professionals into the day to day work that we do.”

Johnson congratulated the medics. “My hats off to these four,” the general said. “It’s a pretty cool opportunity that we have today to be able to award these medics the gold badge that designates who they are, and it sends a message to everyone in this organization to say who’s next.”

BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond Hough said attaining the 68W gold badge is significantly important to him because he is a 68W Combat Medic.

“Nothing frustrated me more than to be in combat and run up on a patient and feel unsure of myself because I hadn’t been trained to the top level that I could be,” said Hough. “So to come here and see the [commanding general] and [chief nursing officer] be part of training and making sure the competency levels of our 68Ws are at the highest level … I couldn’t be more happy.”

68W gold badge recipient Sgt. Danielle Spencer, Taylor Burke Clinic’s NCOIC, says she’s very excited about receiving the sought-after badge.

“It’s definitely a big accomplishment because it was a very hard program when it came to the silver and gold levels and it was very strict so we had to be on our game,” Spencer said.

“Traditionally medics don’t get the opportunity to do these skills so by creating this program it allows us to be exposed to things we may not otherwise have the opportunity to do, and I’m always excited to learn something new to better my personal skills as a medic,” added Sgt. Andrew Kennedy.

The medics wear colored coded badges to serve as a visual cue for the healthcare team so they know the 68W’s level of proficiency. Level one is a black badge, which signifies the new 68W possesses basic skills. Level two’s silver badge shows the medic has demonstrated all direct patient care skills, but not yet completed their table eight high stakes simulation competencies. If the medic achieves all of their competencies, they become “Master Medics” and obtain a Gold Badge.

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