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Irish Defence Forces combat medical technician training: experience of a novel university medical school-based programme
  1. Sheila Loughman1,
  2. C Berry2,
  3. P Hickey2,
  4. G M Kerr2 and
  5. G Bury1
  1. 1Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences, University College Dublin School of Medicine, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sheila Loughman, Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences, University College Dublin School of Medicine, Dublin, Ireland; sheila.loughman{at}


Aims This study explores the opinions and experiences of Irish Defences Forces’ (IDF) graduates from University College Dublin’s Diploma in Military Medicine Care (DMMC). It aims to identify which aspects of medical education are relevant for the development of military graduates in the role of Combat Medical Technician (CMT) in future.

Methods A validated Clinical Learning Environment Score tool was adapted and incorporated into an online survey. This was sent electronically to 71 graduates. Responses were anonymous.

Results 38 (54%) graduates responded. Student feedback was positive regarding teaching and clinical placements in the DMMC. In total 16 (42%) students reported use of their new skills in their daily work. Of the 9 (24%) deployed overseas, all used their new skills. Emergency and occupational health skills were used more frequently, while advanced skills were used rarely.

Conclusion An increased emphasis on frequently used skills should be considered. Links to healthcare services would be of benefit to graduates in skills maintenance. Key advanced skills, such as intravenous cannulation and advanced airway management are rarely used but mechanisms to maintain them will improve the relevance of the programme to the CMT role. A change in how the IDF acknowledges qualifications may support more graduates in advancing and maintaining their career in the military medical workforce.

  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • accident & emergency medicine
  • occupational & industrial medicine

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  • Contributors SL and GB were responsible for planning and drafting the work reported in the article. The acquisition and analysis of the data was done by SL. The interpretation of data and revising it critically for intellectual content was conducted by SL, GB, CB, PH and GMK. The five authors also gave final approval of the version published. Dr. Mark Ruddy & Mr. Brian Bruno, of the Centre for Emergency Medical Sciences at UCD, acted as scientific advisors and proof-readers. Ms. Helen Tobin acted as advisor in managing data.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study did not require approval. It met the criteria for exemption by the Human Research Ethic Board as it was an anonymous survey.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified participant data available from Dr Sheila Loughman, email Re-use permitted for further study on military medical education.

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