Published on March 23, 2022 by Sarah Waller  
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In Samford University’s Experiential Learning and Simulation Center, students have the opportunity to engage in health care simulations, or scenarios that test their clinical skills and challenge them to think critically and collaborate as a health care team. One of the more unique events that the center holds is its emergency preparedness simulation, which was held this year with students in Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing and the School of Public Health.

The scenario was a semitruck had collided with a city bus and a fire ensued. Students were part of a community response team that helped triage and manage victims until first responders arrived on the scene.

This year’s emergency preparedness simulation was scaled down in comparison to years past. Local community partners were unable to participate due to limitations related to COVID-19, but even with fewer entities involved, the simulation prioritized interprofessional education between undergraduate nursing and Master of Social Work students.

“For this simulation, collaboration was key,” said Jill Pence, executive director of the Experiential Learning and Simulation Center. “While we hope our students never experience something like this in real life, we want this experience to embed in them an understanding of the roles each profession plays in caring for people in the wake of a crisis or emergency.”

More than 140 students participated in the simulation as responders. The center’s standardized patients, as well as additional students, engaged in the simulation as victims, using moulage to simulate their wounds and injuries.

“To a spectator, this simulation may appear chaotic, but in reality, this is a very controlled and safe space for students,” Pence said. “We challenge them with these scenarios because we want them to think through the process and learn from their mistakes before facing an actual emergency.”

As a new element, the simulation included an area for a family assistance center. In addition to responding to victims in the field, social workers staffed the family assistance center to provide support and crisis intervention to family and community members arriving on the scene. It also served as a call center where social work students fielded calls from people looking for information on victims.

Additionally, since Samford’s Master of Social Work program is offered both online and in person, online students were able to participate in the simulation remotely through the use of the program’s telepresence robots. The simulation was able to utilize funding from the Title IV-E Training Program grant to incorporate scenarios that specifically addressed child welfare and family reunification.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.