By Katie Stripling
Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing simulated a community incident April 9 to help prepare future nurses to respond in the event of a campus or community emergency. In partnership with Homewood Police and Fire, Jefferson County EMA and Regional Paramedic Service, the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing created a situation involving injuries ranging from psychological impact to fatalities.
Nursing students played the roles of victims as well as first responders. By responding to the emergency, 90 junior and senior nursing students fulfilled the objectives of participating in the triage process and interdisciplinary communication. Community agencies interacted with students as they would in an actual emergency and provided an opportunity for essential interdisciplinary education.
"Nurses are often called upon to respond in a time of crisis, and it is our hope that this drill will help our students be more adequately prepared to respond quickly and effectively in emergency situations," said Jill Pence, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Simulation in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. "By collaborating with community agencies, our students are able to learn to successfully interact with their colleagues in the field," she added.
In addition to meeting the objectives of the nursing school, the drill allowed partnering agencies to assess their emergency response plans. First-responders utilized normal protocol for responding to such a disaster. In addition to participating in the simulation, representatives from the various agencies and other third parties were on hand to evaluate their respective participants' response and the school of nursing faculty evaluated the students' response to the situation. University and nursing school leadership will conduct follow-up meetings with agency partners to discuss the response and next steps.
Associate Professor Cindy Berry and Pence were the lead developers of the simulation. "It is essential that our students and the university be prepared for situations such as the one simulated today," said Berry. "We are grateful to the various community agencies for helping us better equip our students and the university to respond to critical community incidents."
This is the second annual disaster drill coordinated by the school of nursing. Berry and Pence recently received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Alabama League for Nursing for their innovative strategy of implementing interdisciplinary education into the undergraduate curriculum. They plan to continue disaster simulations annually, utilizing different scenarios and have been asked to present on the topic at numerous professional conferences.
Katie Stripling is director of advancement and alumni for Samford's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.