By Airman 1st Class Codie Collins
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
From the flightline to dining facility, Airmen are diligently working to become experts in their specific career fields, however, a select few at the 19th Medical Group are challenged to go above and beyond and become proficient in more than seven skillsets.
Independent duty medical technicians provide full-spectrum of patient care at remote sites or mobile medical units. Services provided include routine and emergency medical care, emergent dental, medical laboratory, pharmacy, bioenvironmental services, public health, health promotions, patient administration, mental health and medical logistics functions.
The length of technical school for an Airman to learn one specific job can range anywhere from two weeks to years. IDMTs are challenged to learn the skills of more than seven different careers in only 13 weeks.
“To be an IDMT means you are essentially a medical group in one person,” said Senior Airman Claudia Sloan, 19th Medical Group IDMT.
After meeting a long list of prerequisites, Airmen assigned to a medical group attend a 13-week additional training course with an approximate 50 percent failure rate, to become a certified IDMT.
“The training is very intense because we have to be knowledgeable in almost every clinic in the medical group,” said Master Sgt. Richelle Moen, 19th Medical Group independent duty medical technician. “The anatomy and physiology portion of the course in a normal college setting is taught over several months. IDMT’s in training go through the course in two weeks.”
After passing this extensive training course, IDMTs return to their base and must complete more than 150 hours of training annually to maintain and advance their skills.
“We are required to see 80 patients under the direction of a physician, spend 16 hours in the dental clinic, 24 hours in immunizations, 4 food and facility inspections and 4 shop visits yearly,” Moen said. “We must maintain Advanced Cardiac Life support, Emergency Medical Technician, Basic Cardiac Life Support instructor and Self-Aid Buddy Care instructor certifications.”
If a catastrophic event were to happen, the Air Force can send one IDMT to a forward location as opposed to sending seven different people.
“We affect the mission stateside and deployed because of the range of capabilities we have,” Sloan said. “For example, being assigned to the squadron I’ve cut down at least 25 percent of the administrative flow for flight medicine. Instead of waiting on the phone with the front desk taking time away from flyers I can figure it out for them or make their lives easier.”