CUH nursing students aid “victims” in mock disaster event

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Teagan Waialeale

Chaminade nursing students assess each victim carefully durning the mock disaster event.

Organized chaos at the Henry Hall Courtyard drew a crowd of students and staff who witnessed the mock disaster event put on by the Chaminade University of Honolulu nursing department on Thursday.

Senior nursing students, forensic science students and Chaminade staff gathered around the courtyard at 10 a.m. when an artificial bomb went off injuring 15 “victims.”

The mock disaster was a simulation event that helped 51 CUH nursing seniors gain hands-on experience if an event like this were to happen in real life. Students had to respond to victims injured by a bomb filled with nuts and bolts left in an unattended backpack.

“The event was to prepare us for an actual disaster,” said senior Chelsea Lynn McKee, incident commander.

Before the event took place, nursing faculty met in CT Ching Conference Center at 9:30 a.m. to tie color ribbons to themselves distinguishing the different groups and jobs.

During the event, victims screamed for help while nursing students ran frantically around the mock scene tending to each one. The students made sure to assess each injured individual accordingly.

When a CUH faculty member yelled to “set up triage,” students broke out medical supplies, and forensic students ran on scene and began collecting evidence.

After nurses diagnosed victims, they were transported to color coordinated mats based on their injury severities.

McKee and senior Whitney Sylva were the two in charge. They monitored the scene and kept order in the chain of command.

“For the first time it went pretty well,” Sylva said. “Our team was good and we knew our roles.”

The nursing students took their jobs seriously. Each team had a specific role and made sure the respective duties were carried out.

Cherry Joy Sercena, a senior, was an Operations Section Chief. She was responsible for making sure everyone knew his or her role.

“We all went in with specific roles,” Sercena said. “It’s natural for us.”

The mock disaster was used as an inter-professional education event. The nursing department provided students with an interactive experience, and the opportunity to work with and learn about other professions, according to Sarah Jarvis, CUH simulation laboratory and research assistant.

After the event was over both incident commanders reflected on the event and were pleased with the outcome.

“It went pretty well,” McKee said, stressed. “It was very overwhelming.”

Sylva noted that if the opportunity to do it again came around, she would be able to perform a lot better.

“We already know what to expect,” Sylva said.

According to McKee, an important aspect of the mock disaster was triage. If there were anything to do differently it would be to triage better and spread out more. Other than that, she feels the whole program did a really good job.

Although CUH nursing department doesn’t have a set plan for this relatively low-budget event, it is Jarvis’ hope that the videos and pictures taken from the event will be used in conferences and educational events as training material for students and staff.