Towson Nursing Students Participate in Disaster Drill
It’s a disaster of mammoth proportions. A plane crashes into a local stadium and the venue is at record capacity. Thousands are injured. Local hospitals are strained to the limit. How do health care professionals and emergency services coordinate treatment of the wounded? That’s what Towson nursing students found out during the recent 2014 Operation STAT emergency exercise at University System of Maryland at Hagerstown (USMH) and on the main campus in Towson, MD.
The mass casualty exercise was as realistic as possible, with victims presenting injuries ranging from glass embedded in the face to burns and broken bones. Moulage (the art of applying faux wounds) required yards of gauze and more than two gallons of fake blood.
Senior nursing students served as emergency health care professionals at USMH. “Our assessment skills prepared us for this. If we had participated earlier in our education, we would have been lost,” said student Fabius Santos. “We realized that we had to communicate quickly,” added fellow student Brianna Kearns. “In an emergency you have to be resourceful and quick on your feet.” Student Maureen Boyle agreed. “There is always the potential for a disaster so we have to be well prepared,” she said. “We learned how to determine triage levels better and to communicate well with each other and our leaders.”
“This was a successful event,” said Kathy Rabon, TU nursing professor at USMH. “It gave students the opportunity to use communications and assessment skills in the care of patients in an emergency situation. We gave them limited resources, so they had to be creative and recognize changes they may have to make depending on what patient needs were presented.”
The state-of-the-art nursing simulation labs located at TU’s main campus and at USMH help nursing students build clinical confidence and competence. By participating in simulation scenarios, students develop professional practices and learn to quickly and professionally manage the many challenges they will face in their careers.