Local experts prepped student nurses at a disaster drill in spring 2021
On-campus nursing disaster drill prepares students in a year filled with hometown disasters.
From staff reports |
Lipscomb nursing students had an action-packed learning experience in March at the on-campus George Shinn Center main ballroom.
The annual Disaster Health Services Education Day was led by Kathy Williams, the course coordinator for the community health course in the nursing program, and Diane Dubinsk, State Healthcare Preparedness Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Health.
All fourth-semester senior student nurses participated in disaster experiences as part of one of their community health clinicals. Due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements, disaster education day was held on campus, for the first time, in the spacious Shinn ballroom.
“Disaster preparation is essential for bachelor prepared nurses. This component has been lacking in nursing education across the nation,” stated Chelsia Harris, executive director of the Lipscomb School of Nursing. “These training experiences put nurses in a much better place for aiding the community by planning and preparing before a disaster strikes.”
The disaster education day was designed to both engage students in learning about preparing for a disaster as well as how to recover and respond to emergencies. Nashville’s own experiences with disaster in 2020, including tornadoes, Covid-19 and a bombing, show how important it is for nurses to not only be prepared for disaster to strike, and to also be able to prevent further tragedies in the aftermath, said Williams.
“The Department of Health is dedicated to the safety of Tennessee and incorporating education in students is a vital part of our plan for the future,” Dubinski said.
The day included various speakers including Dubinski and Paul Peterson, who gave an overview of the Tennessee Department of Health and the Department of Emergency Preparedness; David Green, who taught planning for health care emergencies and disasters; Jeff Sexton, who discussed the Healthcare Resource Tracking System (HRTS); Amy Cox, who described the Emergency Support Function (ESF8).
Vanderbilt University’s Cathy Wilson, RN outreach/injury prevention coordinator, and Chris Brown, trauma outreach educator, led a hands-on learning experience that provided Stop the Bleed certification. Stop the Bleed is a national coalition that educates and trains trauma prevention related to deaths due to hemorrhage.
“Stop the Bleed training was one of the most valuable skills we learned,” stated Leah Major (’21), a nursing major who participated in the disaster day. “In emergency situations, the actions we were taught to perform are crucial and often make the difference between life and death.”
Students also received an overview of the Red Cross and its importance in disaster and emergency services.
“The Red Cross is not only vital for blood distribution, but its nurses are called to action and deployed all over the country to help devastated communities,” Williams said. “All of our nursing students are given the opportunity to sign up to volunteer for Red Cross duty upon graduation and licensure.”
In another simulation activity, nursing students had to triage various trauma victims using the START adult triage algorithm, the most common method for triaging mass casualties in times of disaster and when resources are limited.
“One hopes to never become involved in a disaster. However, I found being prepared for one as a student nurse to be extremely beneficial for when life gives you the unexpected,” said then-nursing major Rojeda Merani (’21).
“Nurses deal with emergencies or disasters on a daily basis. These students have not only been preparing for the unexpected but have also handled the present historical pandemic by being prepared through certification in COVID tracing. They have put their skills to use in administering vaccines here at Lipscomb and at St. Thomas Hospital,” said Williams. “I feel our nursing students will be ready to assist with or participate in a variety of needs the community requires. I am very proud of them.”
“The disaster day workshop was an amazing opportunity to train and expose ourselves to the real world,” said Alena Vermillion (’21). “Through public health education and hands-on work, this workshop was ultimately preparing us to expect the unexpected.”