By Sgt. Karl Williams

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

Patients waiting in the emergency room of Fort Hood's Carl R. Darnall Medical Center may find themselves being cared for by cavalry soldiers.

Medics from the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are taking part in medical proficiency training to improve their communication skills and to strengthen their ability to work with patients with a variety of illnesses.

Medics work under hospital supervisors for one month - two weeks in the emergency room, one week in labor and delivery and one week in the medical surgery ward.

Staff Sgt. Robert Casto, a senior medic with the regiment, said that at the post medical center, medics have more opportunities to interact with a range of patients they don't usually service at their troop medical center.

"In advance individual training, medics are taught 'battlefield medicine,' but in a clinical setting their interpersonal skills are not as developed," Casto said.

"The ability to work side by side with hospital personnel presents our medics with an opportunity to refine these skills and to learn about existing practices from other medical professionals," he said.

Sgt. Stephanie Brown said some medics do not understand that along with seeing the battlefield injuries they will also see everyday illnesses like bumps, bruises, rashes and colds.

"I could see they were not getting the empathy, sympathy and (caring)," said Brown, a medic with the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment.

A recent graduate of the program, Pvt. Javin Grisham said working at Darnell wasn't what he had expected.

"Forget about easing me in. I was put to work right away," Grisham said.

"Working in labor and delivery was highly stressful. It provided me with realistic experiences while under stress, and prepared me to work with mothers who may be irritable due to concerns about their pregnancies," he said.

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