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Nursing, Emergency Students Participate in Mock Disaster Simulation at Lees-McRae

The May School of Nursing and Health Sciences held its first mock disaster simulation Wednesday, October 12.

The simulation took place in the rear parking lot of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences building.

Faculty at the college has been working on the event since April 2016, said Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences and Director of Nursing Dr. Laura Fero.

Performing arts students played the role of burn victims—the result of a large explosion.

Both nursing and emergency medical service and management students were made aware of the situation only moments before being asked to spring into action.

Senior nursing student Thelma Barraza said she heard what sounded like a large bang outside of her classroom and then, “absolute chaos.”

“That’s when I knew something was going on,” Barraza said.

Several students triaged patients in the parking lot, and several more began preparing the mock emergency room on the second floor of the building.

Victims were then brought in on stretchers and placed into beds.

With the guidance of their professors, nursing and EMSM students began to clinically assess, prioritize, clean prosthetic wounds and burns.

Volunteers playing the parts of panicked family members entered the emergency room shouting for their loved ones.

Nursing students calmed the parents by bringing them upstairs to a waiting room. They offered them comfort and something to drink before bringing them to the bedside and providing patient and family-centered care.

Over the course of about an hour, students cared for their patients and received consultations from their professors.

Giovanna Bumgarner, a senior nursing student, said that the experience will help her become a better nurse.

“I’ve grown now, and I know what I need to work on,” she said. “When I relive this again I will know what to do and it will be a cycle: I will learn some new things and find the things I need to work on.”

Fero said the mock scenario was, “integral for our experiential learning vision at the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences.”

Experiential learning is a large focus of the school.

“It offers a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to active triage and emergency response that engages the students and challenges them to use advanced assessment, critical thinking, therapeutic communication, patient-family centered care, and technical skill,” she added.

Plans are already underway for next years’ event.