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      Preparing Tomorrow's Nurses

      Nursing Students Think On Their Feet In Disaster Simulation

      lifting into ambulance

      Working Together

      School of Nursing students partner with local first responders to deliver treatment in an on-campus disaster simulation.

      On Thursday, Oct. 13, 150 senior nursing students attended a lecture on population health, during which they learned about smart tagging systems in place for emergency situations. Unbeknownst to them, they'd soon have to put what they learned into action.

      While the students attended lecture inside Alumni Auditorium, a team worked to stage a disaster that would require medical attention. At 9 a.m., School of Nursing Dean Laura Dzurec interrupted the lecture to alert the students of the simulated emergency: a truck had crashed into and injured a crowd of students.

      Filing out of Alumni Auditorium, the nursing students each received a part to play: nurse, bystander or observer. Twenty students had already assumed the role of victim. They took their places around Founders Hall – the site of the "incident" – and applied makeup to indicate an injury.

      A Team Effort

      Crozer Chester Medical Center and the Chester Fire Department supported the simulation with personnel on the scene as they would in a real disaster.

      According to Dawn Ferry, director of the simulation lab for the School of Nursing, the simulation was planned to give students a thorough understanding of protocols in place for a catastrophic event. "Some students may never see a disaster, but others may face one in their daily life as a nurse, so it's important they are prepared and know how to put the situation in context," she said.

      Following the simulation, the nursing students engaged in a debriefing with nursing professors and the emergency services personnel on site. Stacy Landrum, fire chief of the Chester Fire Department, didn't know of the simulation until he arrived at work that morning, but he saw it as an excellent learning opportunity for his staff in addition to the Widener students. He noted that both the fire department and the Crozer team walked away impressed with the Widener students' ability to think on their feet.

      "I'm proud we were able to be involved," Landrum said. "It was a great training opportunity for everyone. There is only one way to do things when you are in this environment, and that is the right way."

      Ferry hopes to see the simulation become regularly incorporated into the nursing curriculum.

      For photos from the day, visit the Flickr album. Also, learn more about the simulation on ABC Action News.

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