SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The last thing patients being rushed to an emergency room or trauma center want to worry about is if their nurse or medic has been properly trained.
But patients don’t need to worry about that with Tech. Sgt. Emily Irwin-Green on the job.
She’s an emergency and trauma nursing instructor assigned to the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills in St. Louis, and is responsible for ensuring deployed medics also have the skills needed when caring for servicemen and women down range.
Irwin-Green works at the Sisters of St. Mary Health St. Louis University Hospital, which is an academic medical center in St. Louis that serves as a teaching hospital for St. Louis University School of Medicine.
“It’s a great partnership,” said Irwin-Green. “SLU is fantastic at supporting our mission at Scott AFB and allows us to be an active part of their trauma and ICU teams.”
During the first few days of training military medics or nurses, Irwin-Green conducts lectures, equipment familiarization and skills training. On the final days, she participates by either evaluating or working the life-like training mannequin.
“The rest of the time I am side-by-side with the students, and we are working in the emergency department or down in the training lab working on Comprehensive Readiness Medical Program Skills to ensure they are signed off on the required training,” she said.
Irwin-Green uses two different simulation rooms; one that mimics a hospital in a deployed setting, and another that more closely resembles the field conditions. This pre-hospital setting forces students to think outside the box and use resources found in their medic bag rather than the more advanced items found in a hospital.
“Participating in simulations allows for students to apply skills they learn throughout the course in a controlled ‘chaotic’ learning environment,” said Irwin-Green. “It provides them with realistic scenarios that prepare them for situations in a deployed setting with limited time and resources. This training gives our students the confidence to perform the skills needed to save lives.”
Maj. Adrienne Fields, C-Stars SLU Hospital Department of Trauma Surgery curriculum director, said that as an educator, Irwin-Green brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the platform.
“She is passionate about caring for our warfighters and consistently works to ensure every medic who rotates through this program has a positive experience, and gains critical skills and knowledge to carry forward in their career. Emily never fails to uphold a compassionate, yet professional attitude towards her patients and co-workers, alike. Her enthusiasm, as an Air Force NCO and as a medic, is infectious, and we are sincerely thankful to have her as part of our exceptional team at C-STARS STL,” Fields said.
Irwin-Green said she was inspired to become an instructor after taking a C-STARS course in 2005.
“I felt I was a good fit for this position,” said Irwin-Green, citing her time as a Self-aid and Buddy Care instructor and her experiences from previous deployments. “And, being stationed here brought me closer to my family and career progression. Weighing all the factors—dream job, closer to family and advancement in my field—I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.” She said that accepting this job came with a few small bumps in the road, however, thanks to the support from her family, she made her dreams come true.
“My husband and I had to drop our joint-spouse code for me to get orders here,” said Irwin-Green. “I moved here with my 3-year-old son, while eight months pregnant. Luckily my mother-in-law came to the rescue and stayed with me until my husband got orders here six months later. Everyone knew how important this job was for me, so we all made sacrifices to make it happen. I couldn’t have done it and wouldn’t be able to continue to do it without their unwavering support.”