ACNPs in the U.S. Army—Medical Force Multipliers for Large-Scale Combat Operations

Robert L. Grabowski, Edward C. Stene, Scott B. Armen, Matthew C. Boyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Operations in the Middle East have slowed, and near-peer tensions escalate. The U.S. Military has directed its attention from combating insurgencies toward preparedness for large-scale combat operations (LSCOs). The threat of LSCO demands a dramatic shift in strategy and resource and has raised questions about how the military will pivot from the counter-insurgency operations of the previous two decades. Innovation and change are needed to adequately receive, treat, hold, and transport the high volume of anticipated casualties in LSCO. Review of the current deployed medical structure has identified needs to increase emergency medical capabilities near the point of injury, increase patient holding capacity (particularly in critical care) in field hospitals and expeditionary medical facilities, and address likely delayed and prolonged medical evacuation. To address these new challenges, the authors offer recommendations for the addition of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPs) to the U.S. Army Medical Department. ACNPs are advanced practice providers, specialized in acute and critical care. ACNPs are a potential medical force multiplier not currently utilized in the U.S. Army. If adapted, ACNPs could contribute significantly to meeting the demands of LSCO medical needs via multiple roles. Recommendations are provided by the authors, such as utilizing the ACNP within the Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment, Field Hospital intensive care unit, aeromedical evacuation, and/or Prolonged Care Augmentation Detachment. With support from the U.S. Army Nurse Corp and Army Medical Department, ACNPs could be integrated into the Army healthcare model, emulating the civilian standard of care for every soldier deployed. Furthermore, use of ACNPs in theater could advance deployed medical capabilities and help conserve the fighting force of the U.S. Military and its partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume189
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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