Mass Casualty Simulation
UNCG senior nursing students and faculty collaborated with Guilford County EMS, Cone Health and Campus Emergency Management to stage a mass casualty simulation on Wednesday, April 17 on the UNCG campus. Participating agencies worked together with nursing faculty to create a realistic scenario of a tornado disaster. One third of the nursing students were assigned the role of responders, while the other two thirds were assigned various victim roles. Students worked independently and in teams to triage and treat "victims" until EMS could arrive. The exercise allowed the students to effectively utilize the knowledge and skills that they have acquired while in our program.
Those playing the victims were asked to research the role and anticipate how they would respond if the responders were unable to get to them in time. Nursing student-responders were instructed in basic triage protocols and were sent out to triage and treat the victims with limited supplies and the knowledge that EMT responders would not be arriving for some time. By the time the EMT students arrived, the nursing students had moved everyone to a designated triage area, stabilized or treated those with injuries, and were able to designate the most critical needing transport. Faculty acted as observers and coaches for groups of students, but students were ultimately responsible for making decisions. Feedback for the student nurses from seasoned nurses and EMT responders was that the event went very smoothly and the nursing students did an effective job of triaging and treating the wounded overall. Suggestions for improvement included ways to quickly identify the walking wounded or lightly injured from the critically injured, to move the triage areas closer to the wounded so they would not have to be moved quite so far, and to put greater distance between the different levels of care to reduce crowd hysteria. The student remarks were mostly positive, although several of the 'victims' would have preferred to be responders.