Special Forces Medical Sergeant/Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman Candidates: Large Animal Module

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Yost JK, Yates J, Smith B, Workman DJ, Matlick D, Wilson ME, Wilson A 21(2). 115 - 118 (Journal Article)

Background: Medical care provided by Special Operations Forces (SOF) combat medics is vital for establishing communication with local populations. In many of these communities, livestock hold a valuable position within the social, political, and cultural structure. The West Virginia University (WVU) Special Forces Medical Sergeant/Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman (SFMS/SOIDC) Large Animal Module is designed to provide a foundational experience in livestock husbandry and veterinary procedures to SOF combat medic candidates. This study was conducted to determine the participants' base knowledge of food animal production and to evaluate if the program content was sufficient for increasing their knowledge of the subject matter. Methods: A quasi-experimental design utilizing pre-test and post-test instruments was used. The validity of the testing instruments was established by a panel of subject matter experts and the instruments' reliability was determined by a split-half analysis using SPSS® statistical software. The difference between the pre-test and post-test examinations were compared for 66 candidates who were assigned to WVU Health Sciences Center for the applied medical experience program and 46 counterparts assigned to other institutions by a match pair analysis. Results: Seventy-five percent of the subjects had no previous livestock exposure, and only 7% had previously participated in the 4-H program or Future Farmers of America (FFA). The average improvement in scores, pre-test versus post-test, was significantly greater for those that attended the module (18.5 versus 0.9). Conclusion: Few SFMS/SOIDC candidates have prior knowledge of livestock husbandry practices. The large animal module successfully provides education on livestock husbandry practice to participants. Knowledge of livestock production can assist SOF medics in establishing rapport with indigenous populations while on mission.

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