The impact of deployment on the practice of the military internist: A needs assessment for post-deployment refresher training

Jeffrey A. Mikita, Alexander S. Niven, Dean L. Drizin, Satyen M. Gada, Shad Deering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: U.S. Army internists serve in a variety of provider roles during deployment, many of which vary from the traditional responsibilities of a general internist or internal medicine subspecialist. There is significant interest in defining specific clinical and procedural skills in which Army internists may require refresher training after deployment, but information to quantify and clarify these needs is lacking. Materials and Methods: An online, anonymous survey was created to assess Army internists experience and comfort level with specialty-specific problems and procedures before and after deployment. This survey was distributed via the Army Central Simulation Committee to all U.S. Army internists eligible for deployment. The survey was available online from January 11, 2012, to March 9, 2012. Results: Ninety-seven of all 115 (84%) U.S. Army internists eligible for deployment responded. The reported comfort level with core clinical problems in general internal medicine before and after deployment did not change, with the exception of decreased comfort with the performance of advanced cardiac life support (87% versus 76% comfortable, p = 0.035), evaluation and management of anemia (92% versus 83% comfortable, p = 0.039), and comfort with preoperative risk stratification and mitigation (81% versus 65% comfortable, p = 0.017). Providers reported comfort level performing core internal medicine procedures decreased, including significant decreases with lumbar puncture (p < 0.001), arterial line placement (p = 0.02), ultrasound-guided central line placement (p = 0.01), ultrasound-guided thoracentesis (p = 0.004), and arthrocentesis (p = 0.01). Despite a reported deceased comfort with certain core clinical problems and procedural skills, only 10 of 68 (13%) respondents reported being offered refresher skills training following deployment. Conclusion: Although Army internists comfort with core general internal medicine clinical problems remains largely unaffected by deployment, confidence in core internal medicine procedures suffers because of limited opportunities to practice these skills in the deployed setting. Skills training and assessment in procedures required for individual provider practice should be a primary focus of reintegration after deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1987-e1991
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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