174255 Mass Casualty Simulation: Preparing Future Public Health Nurses for Disaster

Monday, October 27, 2008: 4:30 PM

Margaret J. McCormick, MS, RN , Department of Nursing, Towson University, Towson, MD
Nikki Austin, MS, RN , Department of Nursing, Towson University, Baltimore, MD
Marcie Weinstein, PhD , College of Health Professions, Towson University, Baltimore, MD
Wayne Nelson, PhD , College of Health Professions, Towson University, Baltimore, MD
Background: The recent disasters of the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina have alerted Americans to the critical need to prepare the next generation of public health nurses to successfully respond to a disaster. The convergence of unorganized medical volunteers during a disaster can be useless and even counterproductive. Future public health nurses need to understand how to coordinate efforts with surge medical providers, and understand the Incident Command System. According to the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education, core competencies for entry-level nurses include critical thinking, assessment, and first aid. Research shows that current nursing programs provide about four hours of disaster preparedness content.

Purpose: This exercise proposes to educate 250 nursing student providers along with 400-800 “moulage victims” about the importance of personal preparedness. This study tests the nursing student's core competencies during a “Real-Time” Mass Casualty Simulation Event

Method: This field training exercise is staged on campus and integrates first responders with military and community-based surge providers. Emergency transportation and field triage and light medical treatment are practiced. It involves collaboration with the local Fire/Police, Hospitals, Medical Reserve Corps, and Emergency Management Agencies.

Evaluation: During the simulation, knowledge and skill are assessed by nursing faculty. Immediately following the event, debriefing is done in focus groups to examine the role of the nurse and the impact of interagency interaction. This educational approach may improve the level of preparedness of future public health nurses so that they will be able to respond effectively to a mass casualty disaster.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participants will be able to: 1) describe the purpose of an incident command system 2) describe the role of the public health nurses during a mass casualty 3) identify one method used to triage patients

Keywords: Nurses, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Primary author of abstract and was involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of event.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Emergency Preparedness
See more of: Public Health Nursing