Making the rounds: Coalition staff shares knowledge at military medical facility in Iraq

Military medical personnel surround a simulated patient on a stretcher to assess their wounds.
Photo has been digitally altered to protect operational security. A member of the Norwegian Army observes the Canadian Armed Forces resuscitation team stabilizing a simulated patient during an exercise scenario at the Role 2 medical facility in Northern Iraq during Operation IMPACT on November 7, 2016. (Photo: Op IMPACT, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)


By: Captain Matt Zalot, Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force Iraq Detachment Erbil

In Erbil, Iraq, staff at a Coalition Role 2 medical facility are taking advantage of working with other nations to build their medical skills. The facility, which is led by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), provides a space for all coalition medical personnel in the local area to share knowledge.

The CAF took over command of the facility in November 2016. Since then, the 50 or so Canadians have continued the weekly grand rounds presentations that began under the previous American Forward Surgical Team (FST). These weekly presentations are open to all medical staff on camp. They provide a valuable way to share medical knowledge and experience between nations. The participants are from all over the world, as most Coalition nations have small medical teams as a part of their contingents.

“Because we have the time and the collective know-how, we saw this as an opportunity to learn from the skill sets of all the specialists we have with us in theatre,” said the Canadian medical Captain spearheading the effort. “The chance to pass on knowledge is offered to all of the other teams with us here in Erbil.”

The rounds are weekly hour-long sessions and are more than a dry academic exercise. Sharing information helps prepare the staff for real medical emergencies, and they are able to learn about other nations’ practices and how they can work better together.

“Future and current decision makers can learn about new techniques and capabilities through these rounds,” said the Captain, a trauma team leader at the Role 2. “This collaboration also offers up the opportunity to meet with international medical officers and build a rapport that will pay future dividends.”

As well as the grand rounds, the facility staff hone their skills with a high pace of training. This can take the form of medical exercises with simulated patients or teaching junior staff how to use different medical equipment. The case reviews, international collaboration, and teaching experiences are all designed to reinforce existing knowledge and techniques while providing a chance to learn more.

The Coalition Role 2 medical facility is part of a larger mission against Daesh. It has numerous capabilities, including resuscitation, damage control surgery, intensive care support, dental care, diagnostic imaging, a medical lab, and an intermediate care ward. Under Operation IMPACT, the CAF is mandated to operate the facility until late October 2017.

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  • Military medical personnel surround a simulated patient on a stretcher to assess their wounds.
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