Sick call is generally thought of as a designated time and place set aside by the on board medical department to administer to the health needs of active duty personnel. As a senior hospital corpsman, much of your credibility, public relations, and professionalism as a health care professional is gained or lost through your demonstrated performance at sick call. Frequently sick call is the only point of direct contact that the Doc has with his crewmembers or troops. The hospital corpsman who is involved with sick call must use sound technical judgment coupled with high professional standards when dealing with his patients.
Sick call involves not only a great amount of patient contact and the need for the corpsman to demonstrate his medical expertise, but also demands a working knowledge of current directives, health record administrative practices, and logistical skills.
Since medical ethics and patient care are discussed at length in the HM 3 & 2 Rate Training Manual, the following information is presented to aid and assist you in establishing an orderly, functional, and systematic sick call:
1. A designated time approved by the commanding officer should be set aside for sick call. An appointment system might be developed aboard large vessels to reduce the time lost at sick bay.
2. Proper preparation of the space in which sick call is held should provide for maximum efficiency in accomplishing competent, quality health care. A designated sick call space can range from a sickbay aboard ship to a tent in the field. Nevertheless, it should be well stocked with the necessary equipment and supplies needed to maintain your capability to provide sick call services in support of your commands requirements. Equipment and supplies might range from something as simple as the standard field unit No. 1 to something as complex as the Authorized Medical Allowance List (AMAL), which contains all of the items necessary to maintain a complete sick bay aboard ship. A representative assortment of health record forms, supply documents, a treatment log, and journals are maintained in accordance with applicable directives and manuals.
3. It is recommended that sick call be held prior to 0900 on board ship to facilitate the ships operational requirements. Additionally, where referrals are indicated, patients are afforded the convenience of being evaluated at the earliest possible opportunity of the day. All members of the crew who are ill or are incapacitated should report to sick call during prescribed times and should be entered in the sick call treatment log. Contents of this log are discussed in the HM 3 & 2 Rate Training Manual. This log may serve as a data source for the Morbidity Reporting System, or be used in conjunction with the statistical data log. Also, official logs have medicolegal significance and therefore should be accurate and legible. Patients requiring further evaluation or treatment, as determined by the facilitating hospitalman, are referred with appropriate, completed forms.
4. Effective implementation of sick call procedures requires the best utilization of professional resources. Medical officers, when assigned, should be consulted frequently in matters of medicine and physical diagnosis, and these consultations should be part of the inservice training and education programs. The importance of frequent consultations and other communications with medical professionals with respect to training and education can never be overemphasized.
If properly supervised, sick call can be an effective health care delivery platform while providing positive public relations. It serves both as an excellent training device for junior medical personnel and a means to address the