“It was so real.”
That’s how Ana Primeaux, fourth semester Associate Degree Nursing Program student from Meridian Community College, summed up her experience during a class exercise project on Wednesday.
She and her classmates took part in a multi-victim trauma scenario simulation held on campus that also yielded situations and conditions that ranged from a burned child to a spinal cord injury to a heart attack victim to a traumatic amputation. “We want them to be totally immersed (in the scenes) and learn how to pull it together,” said Jeff Hemphill, ADN instructor who also served as the emergency room doctor for the session.
Before the exercise began, several nursing students were made up using the moulage technique creating fake wounds and injuries to look like the trauma victims suffering from burns, lacerations, fractures and other injuries. They also stayed in character throughout the disaster by screaming, crying and moaning to add to the realism.
Fourth semester ADN students participating in the exercise were given cards to determine triage, the order of care, and the same students later gathered to determine which nursing staff would tend to the injured. The students then cared for their patients in the College’s Betty W. Davis Center for Nursing Simulation Studies facilities. “What are you going to do when you see mass casualty patients,” Hemphill asked the students as they reviewed the experience.
Nurses not only need technical competencies to succeed on the job, but they also need critical thinking skills to provide safe, effective care. One way they can gain those skills is by utilizing nursing simulation scenarios such as the one conducted Wednesday.
“I think the simulation is great without hurting anybody,” Primeaux said. Playing the role of charge nurse for the situation, the student said her greatest takeaway from the exercise was honing her multi-tasking skills.
But that’s not the only goal obtained from the exercise. In addition to gaining teamwork skills, “we really want them to take care of their patients as best as they can,” Hemphill said. And because situations such as the one simulated can happen anywhere – inside or outside the hospital – being prepared can be among the best medicine.