School of Nursing Conducts First-Ever Emergency Trauma Simulation

On March 4 2016, the UNCW School of Nursing conducted the first-ever emergency trauma simulation with 50 seniors in the Simulation Learning Center (SLC) located in McNeill Hall.

Simulation Lab Coordinator, Robin Cunningham; Simulation Lab Assistant, Barbara Snyder; and School of Nursing faculty, Nancy Murdock oversaw the simulations that involved multiple trauma victims.

The simulation consisted of seven high-fidelity manikins with various injuries and two community volunteer patient actors (a husband and wife couple) who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Multiple SLC labs served as the trauma hospital, and students gained hands-on experience working as a team, prioritizing and delivering care to various patients.

"We wanted to make it as realistic as possible," Cunningham said. "This is a simulated disaster experience that many students across the country may not have a chance to experience. Having EMS assist provided a great element of realism and enhanced the student learning."

The simulation began with a pre-briefing session from J.T. DiMauro, a lieutenant and paramedic with Carolina Beach Fire Department, who educated the students on a "Code Aster," an event resulting in major trauma victims, as well as the "triage of victims," the sorting of patients in an emergency room setting according to the urgency of their need for care.

The simulation was an interprofessional collaboration between the School of Nursing, community paramedics, EMS and patient actors.

Cunningham said they had been planning the simulation since November of 2015. They first met with J.T. DiMauro who had experience with disaster simulations, and he assisted in the simulation planning as well as the execution.

Three other New Hanover EMS workers also volunteered to assist in the simulation.

The simulation is a part of the Nursing 403 course, Adult Health II, the final nursing course before students take their Capstone (internship).

"I was very happy with the integrated simulation learning experience," Cunningham said, "and the fact that we were able to do something very innovative. Most importantly, students reported that they learned a lot and that it was a great, realistic experience."