142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

A High-Fidelity Training Simulation in Disaster Triage for Undergraduate Community Health Nursing Students

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Chad Priest, RN, MSN, JD , Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN
Joyce Krothe, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, Indiana University, Bloomington
Jim Floyd, M.Ed., CHS-III, EMT, PI , MESH Coalition, Indianapolis, IN

Nurses trained in traditional acute-care environments lack sufficient training and practice in making triage decisions following a disaster or crisis event.   Training in disaster-triage is typically accomplished via lectures.  We describe the pilot of a high-fidelity training simulation designed to teach START triage offered to senior-level baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in a community health course at a large, public research university with the assistance of a non-profit emergency management organization.


Senior-level students completed an on-line course in START Triage developed by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.  Following successful completion  students participated in a 6-hour, high-fidelity simulation conducted at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC).  MUTC is 1,000 acre facility managed by the Indiana Army National Guard and primarily used for training military and first responders.  The facility contains a four story hospital that was formerly a state developmental facility, as well as an underground subway.  A START triage training curriculum was developed that provided each student the opportunity to practice triaging up to 60 students at several times during the day. The scenarios included the use of noise and light stimulation and incorporated the natural structures, creating for a realistic training environment that students reported was highly effective.  

Lessons Learned

Students reported experiencing anticipated stress reactions during the event, to include feeling nervous and scared about making inappropriate triage decisions under stress.  The experience was positively reviewed by all students. 


Further research is needed to determine whether training in high-fidelity environments improves disaster triage skill-recall.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe a high-fidelity training simulation in disaster triage for baccalaureate community health nursing students

Keyword(s): Nursing Education, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a national expert in emergency management and am a masters-prepared community health nurse who teaches community health at a large research university.
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.