CSCC Nursing hosts disaster drill

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted 4/12/19

Chairs, signs and other debris littered the front lawn of the Career Education Building at Cleveland State Community College as nursing students hustled to help those “injured” in a tornado.

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CSCC Nursing hosts disaster drill

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Chairs, signs and other debris littered the front lawn of the Career Education Building at Cleveland State Community College as nursing students hustled to help those “injured” in a tornado.

That was the scene at the CSCC Nursing Department’s Mass Casualty Disaster Simulation on Wednesday. The event gave students a feel for what it may be like to respond to a real disaster, such as a tornado. 

“They’re fortunate to be able to get this experience while they are still in college. Not every college nursing program has a multi-discipline, multi-level drill luke this one,” said Dr. Sonya Franklin, associate professor of nursing. “It’s actually a very intense experience, once they’re in it.” 

Students in CSCC’s nursing, paramedic, emergency medical technician and social work programs were tasked with helping live “victims” as they responded to the disaster at hand.

Each of the victims was assigned a medical status, and those said to be injured were given realistic-looking makeup to simulate injuries common after a tornado. They were also encouraged to act as one would after a traumatic event. 

Other students were tasked with serving as first responders and running an “emergency room” in campus classrooms. The victims had to be moved from another building, triaged and taken to the appropriate location to be treated. 

Once in the ER, students serving in medical roles worked quickly to saved the lives of the worst injured. There were successes, but medical staff had to inform a few of the victims that they were dead. 

The CSCC Nursing Department also partnered with the American Red Cross to set up a disaster relief station on campus. Red Cross volunteers and nursing students manned a station where the “walking wounded” could receive water, first aid and talk to counselors. 

Linda Sparks, a registered nurse and 15-year volunteer with the Red Cross, said this event was a “win-win,” because it allowed both Red Cross volunteers and CSCC students to practice their skills. 

Maureen Baksh-Griffin, associate professor of nursing at CSCC, noted that though this is an annual event, this year’s theme fits with the college’s overall emergency preparedness efforts. 

“Last week, Cleveland State Community College executed a tornado drill system for the first time,” she said. “We also thought it was apropos for our students to be getting prepared for a tornado as they work in their areas of study.” 

This is an annual event in its seventh year, and organizers have chosen different scenarios throughout the years. A student who spends both years of his or her associate’s degree program at CSCC has the opportunity to be part of a drill like this twice before graduation. 

Some students said the event was eye-opening, and the students acting as first responders and emergency room staff it provided them with valuable insight into how things could be after a real disaster. 

“These things do happen in life, so it is good to be really prepared for them,” said CSCC nursing student Kyla Smith. “Everyone should be aware of dangers like tornados and know what to do, and this is especially important for those who have to respond in emergencies.”

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