Christensen JB. 18(3). 103 - 108. (Journal Article)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Special Operations Combat Medic (NSOCM) course is specifically designed to train 24 highly selected Special Operations Forces (SOF) members to treat trauma and nontrauma patients who have life-threatening diseases and/or injuries. The NSOCM course is held at the International Special Training Centre (ISTC) in Pfullendorf, Germany, and exemplifies ISTC's mission to build interoperability and strengthening alliances between multinational partners. The 24-week NSOCM course is taught by subject matter experts and SOF members from around the globe. Building interoperability and capacity with common NATO standards is crucial to medical support of all future SOF missions where military units and other small elements will be vitally dependent on each other for combined missions at the regional, national, or NATO level. A better understanding and knowledge of the current SOF medic role and the capabilities they need to bring to the battlefield will help advance their scope from the "classic" trauma scenarios to the more advanced clinical medicine and prolonged field care situations. The NSOCM must become a critical-thinker and be able to recognize and treat these health risks and conditions in remote, austere environments, finding the right solution with a limited arsenal at their disposal. The ISTC-NSOCM course is designed to help bridge this gap and raise situational awareness for the NATO on-the-ground medical professionals to ensure "the more they know the more apt they are to save a life." In essence, it is ISTC's goal to meet these challenges by training NSOCMs to meet these multidimensional demands. This article outlines ISTC's development and design of the NSOCM course and new adaptations as we move forward into our third year of training world-class medics.