2022 Military Poster Presentations

Michael Wells1; Taylor Norris1; Larry Brunson2; 1RVUCOM; 2Other

Objectives: Cut suit week provides a "hyper-realistic" training for medical students in the armed forces that is designed to induce the level of stress they will encounter in operations when they are deployed. This allows acclimation under controlled conditions, and aims to prevent students from the worst effects of being exposed to the high levels of stress they are likely to encounter when deployed.

Methods: Students take a Stress test and Emotional Intelligence test on both day 1 and 6 of this training. Data was collected across five years from students at this training, with an average of 37 students attending the training each year. The tests consisted of various Yes/No questions such as, “Did these medical exercises make you feel nervous?" and “Would you estimate that your performance today was below that of your peers?” created by Veracity Security Systems. As students take the test on a tablet, the TouchScreener technology is able to interpret any involuntary responses that the questions elicit. With up to 92% accuracy, it can interpret whether or not students are likely answering questions truthfully or whether they are experiencing a Significant Psychophysiological Response (SPR).  A SPR indicates the subject may be attempting to avoid or obfuscate the truth.

Results: Data gathered during the week's exercises indicated an overall trend of decreased anxiety and increased confidence.  Individual test results showed year-to-year variation, but the general result indicates successful "stress inoculation" of the students. In regards to both the Stress and Emotional Intelligence tests, there were less “Admits” (Yes) responses to the questions on the post-test when compared to the pre-test. This likely indicates that the students felt anxiety before the week began, and could also be explained by increased confidence and hardiness once they had been through the stressful experiences.

Conclusion: The interpretation from these two tests indicates that Cut-Suit week is a stressful environment that increases armed forces students’ hardiness, emotional intelligence, and confidence before being deployed in a real-life scenario. Furthermore, Cut-Suit week has demonstrated to be a valuable experience, preparing medical students in the armed forces for future deployments.