An Cosantóir

February 2020

An Cosantóir the official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces.

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Page 23 of 39

An Cosantóir February 2020 24 | BY CAPT (AR) DR MATHEW MCCAULEY, CONSULTANT MILITARY CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST; CONSULTANT ADVISOR, OFFICE OF DIRECTOR MEDICAL BRANCH. IMAGES COURTESY OF AUTHOR AND UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIVERSITY OF THE HEALTH SCIENCES, WWW.USUHS.EDU O peration Bushmaster is an annual, two-week, simulation- based, military medical field training exercise, which is conducted in the United States (US) by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). This article outlines the context and content of Operation Bushmaster, along with my involvement in this unique US military exercise. Located near Washington DC, the university is the only post-graduate military medical institution of its kind in the US. It retains over 1,200 students in medicine, clinical psychology, nursing, and several other health disciplines. The university's mission is to train military healthcare professionals for uniformed service across the US armed forces. Operation Bushmaster 2019 was held between 6-19 October, and this year's exercise, which involved hundreds of military clinicians and trainers, saw the first involvement of a member of the Irish Defence Forces. It was an honour to serve as an instructor, observer-controller, and member of the evaluation team in this unique military medical training exercise, via my role as an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Trinity College Dublin. Utilising simulation-based education methods, this long-standing exercise enables military healthcare students to encounter direct experiential learning of professional competencies, while engaging in operational skills- and outcomes-based teaching and learning. Held at Fort Indiantown Gap, a military facility in rural Pennsylva- nia spread across 18,000 acres, Operation Bushmaster is part of the Military Contingency Medicine (MCM) course, which is a capstone course for the USUHS Operational Military Medicine curriculum and is structured around a simulated deployment to the hypotheti- cal, developing country of 'Pandakar'. The exercise is conducted in two, sequential, five-day rotations in the field, during which cohorts of approximately 100 students are trained in four medical platoons. The classroom phase represents the pre-deployment readiness period and is designed to provide the opportunity for students to acquire the critical knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for successful assignment and deploy- ment as a tactical-level military medical corps officer. During the exercise, senior USUHS medical students, clinical

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