JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Students in Combat Medic Training program Alpha Class 70-17 at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston gathered around Alonzo Gonzales, an emergency medical technician course instructor, Aug. 21 as he explained the morning’s lesson.
The class was learning how to respond to a variety of obstetrics emergencies utilizing specialized training manikins in the OB lab and, as part of a new pilot program that kicked off a few days earlier, incorporating three-dimensional hologram images into the training. The Combat Medic Training program is the first METC program to incorporate hologram technology to augment training.
April Maher, an EMT instructor and the subject matter expert for the OB/Pediatrics hands-on training curriculum, said the holograms are of high quality and the 3D aspect enhances the learning experience for the Soldier medics.
While the manikins resemble life-size pelvic cavities inside which the “fetus” can be positioned to replicate any number of complicated situations, the holograms can depict different, true-to-life OB emergencies at different stages just by viewing the hologram from differing angles, providing the viewer with a realistic 3D view of the complications that cannot be presented in a mannequin.
According to Maher, the technology has so far proven to add value to the hands-on training.
“I observed the students as they took their turn in the lab. Their eyes widened and jaws dropped at the holograms displaying different birthing presentations,” Maher said.
“I asked the students on their way out what they thought of the holograms and the lab. Some said it gave them a better concept of what was going on inside the mother and the fetus. It helped draw an actual picture of what was really happening and gave them an idea of how it looks in a real world situation.”
Overall, the students’ impression of the technology is enthusiastic.
“I really like incorporating technology with learning,” said Pfc. Matthew Monaghan, a student in the class. “The 3D technology really helps make it very realistic.”
Spc. Nalisha Thompson, also a student, echoed Monaghan’s sentiment. “It’s different than watching a video and using the manikins,” she stated. “It’s really interesting.”
When told the technology is new to the program, Thompson didn’t hesitate to make a recommendation. “Keep it!”