Drill gives disaster training to Widener nursing students
CHESTER » More than 125 Widener University senior nursing students on Thursday participated in a live disaster simulation held on campus.
The majority of the students were unaware of plans for the extensive drill as they sat in a lecture hall. Their day was progressing as usual until about 10 a.m. when a school bus “collided “with a passenger vehicle in front of the university center on 14th street.
“We were learning about disasters and how to respond when the accident occurred,” said nursing student Cristy Cabrera. “The lecturer was explaining how coding works during a crisis and how to properly tag victims by the extent of their injuries. When the alarm sounded we all ran from the hall to go and help who we thought were real victims. It is amazing how quickly everything happened and how fast assessments are done.”
Dawn Ferry, APRN, director of the Widener School of Nursing Simulation Lab, said the drill, which is in its second year, is an opportunity for students to gain understanding of protocols in place for disaster situations.
“With so many recent natural disasters and emergencies in the United States, student nurses must be prepared at any moment,” Ferry said. “Some students may never see a disaster, but others may face one in their daily lives. As nurses, it’s important they are prepared and know how to use their skills and training in any situation.”
Prior to the simulation, some students were designated as victims, complete with make-up, while others were onlookers. For the most part, the majority of students and staff were unaware of the drill.
“I came out of my office and saw the firemen and smoke,” said Kelly McGrath, food production manager for Aramark. “I thought it was a real accident and came out to see if I could help. I’m sure this is very useful to the nursing students.”
To add to the reality of the event, in addition to the nursing students, emergency vehicles from Delaware County, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester police officers and firefighters also responded, using the Jaws of Life..
“Victims” were relegated to triage units based on the severity of their injuries and were transported to CrozerChester Medical Center and Taylor Hospital.
Following the morning session, all students participated in a debriefing panel discussion with nursing professors, which focused on all areas of triage from trauma control to mental health.
A Widener University nursing student, portraying an accident victim, waits for help on a school bus that was involved in a “collision” with a car.
Widener University nursing students assess an accident victim during the realistic disaster simulation that took place on campus Thursday morning.