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Gap Analysis to Identify Clinical Education Needs of Aeromedical Evacuation Clinicians

De Jong, Marla J., PhD, RN, CCNS, Colonel (Ret), FAAN; Dukes, Susan F., PhD, RN, CCNS, Colonel; Losekamp, Tiffany, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: March/April 2019 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 83–89
doi: 10.1097/DCC.0000000000000349
Educational DIMENSION

Background The Air Force has unique challenges in ensuring clinical proficiency for en route care clinicians. These challenges pertain to existing care environments, training opportunities, and the spectrum of training needed to care for patients with polytrauma and complicated medical conditions while being transported between medical treatment facilities.

Objective The purpose of this study was to identify the clinical education needs of students entering the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine Flight Nurse (FN) or Aeromedical Evacuation Technician (AET) course and Air Force FNs and AETs assigned to active duty aeromedical evacuation units.

Method We recruited 198 students enrolled in the FN or AET course and 103 active duty FN and AET aircrew members and conducted a gap analysis to identify the clinical education needs of Air Force FNs and AETs.

Results Training gaps were identified for active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard FNs and AETs. The greatest learning needs included use of the portable therapeutic liquid oxygen unit, manual resuscitators, and negative pressure wound therapy systems, and care of special populations such as patients with a burn injury or mental health disorder.

Conclusions Results of the gap analysis can be used to select and develop educational and simulation training scenarios designed to foster clinical competence.

Marla J. De Jong, PhD, RN, CCNS, Colonel (Ret), FAAN, is Chair of the Division of Acute and Chronic Care and a professor at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Susan F. Dukes, PhD, RN, CCNS, Colonel, is commandant/assistant dean for student affairs at the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD.

Tiffany Losekamp, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE, is assistant professor of Practice and coordinator of the Simulation Learning Center at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH.

This research was supported by a grant from the 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of Defense or the Departments of the Air Force, Navy, Army, or Public Health.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Marla J. De Jong, PhD, RN, CCNS, Colonel (Ret), FAAN, University of Utah, Annette Poulson Cumming Building, 10 S 2000 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5880 (

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