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Remote training for combat medics during the COVID-19 era: lessons learnt for future crises?
  1. James Michael Hodgetts1,
  2. H A Claireaux1 and
  3. D N Naumann2
  1. 14 Armoured Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps, Tidworth, UK
  2. 2Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj D N Naumann, Academic Department of Military Surgery and Trauma, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK; david.naumann{at}


Background In response to COVID-19, the UK government ordered strict social distancing measures. The UK Armed Forces followed these to protect the force and ensure readiness to respond to various tasking requests. Clinical training has adapted to ensure geographically dispersed medical personnel are trained while social distancing is maintained. This study aimed to evaluate remote training for Combat Medical Technicians, Medical Assistants and Royal Air Force Medics (CMTs/MAs/RAFMs) during the COVID-19 pandemic and the views of trainers on how this should be delivered now and in the future.

Methods A mixed quantitative and qualitative survey study was conducted to determine the experiences of a sample of Defence Medical Services personnel with remote training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical and nursing officers involved in teaching CMTs/MAs/RAFMs were eligible to participate.

Results There were 52 survey respondents. 78% delivered remote training to CMTs/MAs/RAFMs, predominantly using teleconferencing and small-group webinars. 70% of respondents report CMTs/MAs/RAFMs received more training during the COVID-19 pandemic than before. 94% of respondents felt webinar-based remote training should continue after COVID-19. The perceived benefits of webinar-based training included reduced travel time, more training continuity and greater clinical development of learners.

Conclusions The challenge of continuing education of medical personnel while maintaining readiness for deployment and adhering to the Government’s social distancing measures was perceived to have been met within our study sample. This suggests that such an approach, along with clear training objectives and teleconferencing, may enable personnel to deliver high-quality training in an innovative and secure way.

  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • medical education & training
  • qualitative research

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  • Twitter @HodgeJM, @davidnnaumann

  • JMH and HAC contributed equally.

  • Contributors JMH and HAC designed the methodology with some modifications by DNN. The study was undertaken by JMH and HAC. Data analysis was undertaken by JMH and HAC. Data interpretation was done by all authors. The first draft of the manuscript was written by JMH and HAC, and revisions were made by DNN. The final version was agreed by all authors.

  • 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.

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

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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