Building the EnRoute Critical Care Nurse Capability

Building the EnRoute Critical Care Nurse Capability


Name: Kimberly Biever

Rank: COL

Presenter/Poster: Poster

Year: 2017


The last 15 years of combat have revealed multiple gaps of the need to train and provide the skillsets needed to transport critically injured, post-damage control surgical patients across the range of military operations. The Enroute Critical Care Nurse (ECCN) capability was built to support critical care transport in rotary wing platforms from Role 2 (R2) and Role 3 (R3).
Objectives of the study (e.g., specific aims or PICOT question)
Provide a historic background of the attempts to provide a standardized level of critical care transfers from R2 and R3 with ECCNs. In addition, highlight the challenges of building and maintaining the ECCN.
Background (e.g.; review of literature/setting)
As early as 2002 a critical care capability gap was identified between flight medic (EMT-Basic) training and skillsets needed to transport critically injured, post-damage control surgical patients between facilities.
During OIF/OEF, Army nurses assigned to R2 and R3 served as medical attendants on rotary wing flights where casualties required critical care transport. This often placed significant strained on manpower and resources available.
In 2008/2009 –Joint Theatre Trauma System identified an increase in the Injury Severity Score with a scope of care gap in critical care patient transfers from R2 to R3 and requested for forces to close the gap.
Study methods or method of implementation
The purpose of this abstract is to review years of training and capability building to prepare the Army ECCN in administering care to complex, poly-trauma casualty in rotary wing MEDEVAC platforms in deployed settings.
Study/Project findings
Since 2010, over 5500 patients have been transported by the Army flight medic /ECCN teams. ECCNs have integrated into MEDEVAC companies and supported evacuations across R1 to R3. In addition ECCNs have served in virtually every area of operations across EUCOM, PACOM, AFRICOM, NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, and CENTCOM.
Implications for military nursing
There continues to be an increased need of critical care transport across the tyranny of distance and the range of military operations. Training and implementation of the ECCNs among joint services will need to become more agile and operationally trained to meet the requirements of the current and future fight. Instead of an ECCN dedicated to one platform, the ECCN will need to be further operationalized to care for the casualty across the global continuum of care.