Medics and corpsmen receive a fire hose of basic medical knowledge during their initial training. However, you can only learn and retain so much in a condensed military course. Once you arrive at your new unit, it is up to you and your leadership to engage in continuing medical education. This year-long weekly self-development framework is intended to provide a guided approach to learning the fundamental medical science that was introduced during AIT or A-school.

This learning plan focuses primarily on anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology as the foundation for all other medical knowledge. We have made our best attempt to use only open-access resources. It would benefit learners to take advantage of the free institutional resources available through the military. Check out this article on the AMEDD Virtual Library.

This professional development program is designed to be used by medical NCOs to develop their new incoming and junior medics. NCOs are able to add, remove, and remix this plan to benefit their particular organization. NCOs are responsible for cross-walking any content here to their organizations recertification requirements (example TC 8-800 tables for Army folks).

Using the Learning Plans

Each week, you will move to a new section with a learning plan. This is a self-study program and you are responsible for making sure you have an adequate understanding of the topics presented. To help with this, all the learning plans will be formatted the same. The plan will provide specific learning goals, a list of suggested resources, and some key indicators of successful learning.

Key: ▶️ Video 📖 Book or Journal Article 🎙️ Podcast or other audio recording.

Goals & Outcomes

Each week will have a set of learning objectives to guide medics as they watch, listen, and read the provided materials. This part tells you why the topic for the week is important, how it applies to field medicine, and what you’re expected to know by the end of the week.

Methods of Learning

Each week of the plan will include an “anchor text” which serves as a foundation for all other materials. A list of recommended materials will be provided, including YouTube videos, links to open textbooks or journal articles, and podcast episodes. We encourage learners to find additional resources to help them best understand the content.

This self-study program will require good reading and study skills. Use the goals and outcomes each week to actively engage with the material, ask and answer your own questions, and apply the learning to examples you’ve seen in your clinical or field practice. Find others to talk with about what you’re learning. Use spaced repetition to boost retention by studying a little bit every day.

Indicators of Learning

NCOs should be prepared to evaluate the knowledge being gathered through this development plan. Evaluations can take the form of testing, oral presentations, hands-on skills evaluation, or work performance. NCOs can use the goals and outcomes presented as a basis for evaluation. Additionally, the lessons plans presented below could be used at the basis for a flipped classroom approach to unit-level medical training. Read more about flipping the classroom at Edutopia.

How to Monitor Progress

There are no mechanisms on this website to track who reads what. Accountability is shared between the person assigned to complete this professional development plan and the NCOs who assigned it. Inspect what you expect and make continuing medical education a part of your battle rhythm.

Weekly Professional Development

Providing weekly professional development may seem like a daunting task for junior medics and NCOs, especially if the training is treated like a test. It is recommended to grade it in terms of their understanding of the material. Remember to set goals tailored to the individual and ensure their understanding of the material satisfies your intent before progressing further.

Set clear conditions and standards and evaluate if they were met. Review and determine if they need more time with a specific topic.

Airmen from the 911th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron sit and study at Barbers Point Airfield, Hawaii April 26, 2019. During the flight home the 911th AES did training with their simulated patients as well as continued to go over in air medical procedures.(U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Grace Thomson)

Medic Professional Development Plan

IMPORTANT NOTE!

This post is under development and incomplete. Check back occasionally for updates to all sections. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the authors listed at the end.

Week 1: Biology Basics

Goals & Outcomes: Biology is the study of life. Medicine is the applied science of biology. This week you will learn about the science that serves as a foundation for all of medicine. At the end of this week you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why is science and the scientific process important to medicine?
  • What’s the difference between basic science and applied science, and how do they work together?
  • Why is it important to know about the levels of organization below what we can see with our eyes?

Anchor text: OpenStax Biology 2e – The Study of Life

Additional Resources:


Week 2: Chemistry Basics

Goals & Outcomes: Chemistry is the study of how matter interacts changes. Everything that happens within the human body from energy production to blood clotting relies upon chemical processes. This week you will learn about how atoms interact to form compounds and how those compounds’ structures determine reactivity and function. At the end of this week you will:

  • Explain the ways in which naturally occurring elements combine to create molecules, cells, tissues, organ systems, and organisms
  • Explain the difference between hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules
  • Explain why water is an excellent solvent
  • Discuss the role of acids, bases, and buffers in homeostasis
  • Explain why carbon is important for life

Anchor text: OpenStax Biology 2e – The Chemical Foundation of Life

Additional Resources:


Week 3: Biochemistry Basics

Goals & Outcomes: Biochemistry is the combination of chemistry and biology. This week we will learn how the chemical structures that make up the substance of the human body interact to drive the processes of life. At the end of the week you will:

  • Describe the structure of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins
  • Discuss the role of carbohydrates in cells
  • Explain the role of fats in storing energy
  • Explain how the phospholipid bilayer controls the transfer of materials into the cell
  • Describe the ways in which protein shape and function are linked

Anchor text: OpenStax Biology 2e – Biological Macromolecules

Additional Resources:


Week 4: Human Anatomy

Goals & Outcomes: A thorough understanding of the structures of the human body and their functions serves as the foundation of all other practical medical knowledge. Without a solid basis in A&P, physical exams and other assessments are just guesswork. At the end of the week you will:

  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
  • Describe the anatomic structures from simple to complex using levels of organization
  • Identify the four requirements for human survival
  • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – An Introduction to the Human Body

Additional Resources:


Week 5: Cellular Anatomy

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Cellular Level of Organization

Additional Resources:


Week 6: Tissue Anatomy

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Tissue Level of Organization

Additional Resources:


Week 7: Pharmacology Basics

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Principles of Pharmacology – Introduction to Pharmacology
Principles of Pharmacology – Pharmacokinetics I
Principles of Pharmacology – Pharmacokinetics II – Dosing

Additional Resources:


Week 8: Integumentary System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Integumentary System

Additional Resources:


Week 9: Bone Tissue

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – Bone Tissue and the Skeletal System

Additional Resources:

Week 10: Axial Skeleton

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – Axial Skeleton

Additional Resources:

Week 11: Appendicular Skeleton

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Appendicular Skeleton

Additional Resources:

Week 12: Joints

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – Joints

Additional Resources:

Week 13: Muscle Tissue

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – Muscle Tissue

Additional Resources:

Week 14: Muscular System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Muscular System

Additional Resources:

Week 15: Musculoskeletal Injury

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention

Additional Resources:

Week 16: Physical Fitness

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Physical Fitness

Additional Resources:

Week 17: Rest and Recovery

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Sleep, Rest, and Recovery

Additional Resources:

Week 18: Nervous Tissue

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Nervous System and Nervous Tissue

Additional Resources:

Week 19: Nervous System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – Anatomy of the Nervous System

Additional Resources:

Week 20: Somatic and Autonomic Nervous Systems

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor texts: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Somatic Nervous System
OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Autonomic Nervous System

Additional Resources:

Week 21: The Neurological Exam

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Neurological Exam

Additional Resources:

Week 22: Traumatic Brain Injury

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Traumatic Brain Injury in the Military

Additional Resources:

Week 23: Endocrine System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Endocrine System

Additional Resources:

Week 24: Blood

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Cardiovascular System: Blood

Additional Resources:

Week 25: Shock

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text:

Additional Resources:

Week 26: Cardiology

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Cardiovascular System: The Heart

Additional Resources:

Week 27: Circulation

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology – The Cardiovascular System: Blood Vessels and Circulation

Additional Resources:

Week 28: The Lymphatic and Immune System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 29: The Immune System and Disease

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Biology 2e – The Immune System and Disease

Additional Resources:

Week 30: The Respiratory System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 31: High-Altitude Medicine

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Environmental Extremes: Alternobaric

Additional Resources:

Week 32: The Digestive System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 33: Metabolism and Nutrition

Goals & Outcomes:

  • Describe how the body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to make energy.

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 34: Performance Nutrition

Goals & Outcomes:

  • x

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Performance Nutrition

Additional Resources:

Week 35: The Renal System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 36: Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Balance

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 37: The Reproductive System

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 38: Development and Inheritance

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology –

Additional Resources:

Week 39: Force Health Protection

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Force Health Protection

Additional Resources:

Week 40: Medical Logistics

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Medical Logistics

Additional Resources:

Week 41: Medical Planning

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Health Services Support: Operational Planning

Additional Resources:

Week #: X

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine

Additional Resources:

Week #: X

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine

Additional Resources:

Week #: X

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine

Additional Resources:

Week #: X

Goals & Outcomes:

Anchor text: Fundamentals of Military Medicine

Additional Resources:

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Environmental Extremes: Heat and Cold

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Psychological Well-Being

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Spiritual Fitness and Performance

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Mass Casualty Preparedness and Response

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive Threats

Fundamentals of Military Medicine – Combat and Operational Stress Control


This project was started by Max Dodge and Stephen Marsh as a way to build a better “Ready Medical Force”.