Thirty nursing students in Holy Family’s Fast Track Second Degree nursing program participated January 14 in a hazardous material (HAZMAT) simulation at the University’s Newtown campus, supervised by Detective Joseph Rovnan, Philadelphia Police Department Counter-Terrorism Operations.
“This is the second time we’ve created this hands-on simulation so that our students can get a richer understanding of community health needs and emergency situations where nurses would play a critical role,” said Joeann Hall, Simulation Laboratory Coordinator for the School of Nursing at the Newtown Campus.
The students were divided into two groups, responders and victims, so they could immerse themselves and get a 360-degree viewpoint of their function and appreciation for the individuals being cared for in an emergency.
At the sound of the alarm, a fictitious bombing took place, complete with smoke machines, to replicate a real situation. Responders, dressed in yellow vests and hats, jumped into action to help victims and them for the most immediate care. Each victim received a colored wristband, with red raising a top priority flag, followed by yellow, green or black.
Students were impressed by the reality of the situation, including the real-world distractions that can deter the primary objective of caregiving when so many things are happening at once. For example, Joeann Hall, playing the role of a news reporter, interrupted the process by trying to interview nurses as they were taking care of the injured population.
Detective Rovnan spoke to the group before and after the simulation to point out some of the behind-the-scenes care stations that are in place for various public events he’s been involved with, including Pope Frances’ visit to Philadelphia.
“We had care stations set-up at hotels around the Parkway,” said Rovnan. “You don’t need to be a graduate to volunteer and help out for these big public events.”
The simulation also included observation and a presentation by Alyssa Jacobsen, Assistant Program Management of Bioterrorism and Public Heal Preparedness for Philadelphia, who discussed opportunities for students to volunteer to work with the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).