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Emergency care drills are vital in preparing nursing students for practice

Mass casualty simulation exercises play an essential part in making the transition from student to qualified practitioner as smooth as possible
image of nursing students in a emergency care simulation scenario

Mass casualty simulation exercises play an essential part in making the transition from student to qualified practitioner as smooth as possible

Simulation exercises expose nursing students to potential mass casualty incidents and help them to prepare for a multi-agency approach to practice, as well as giving them confidence under pressure.

The University of South Wales has hosted three simulated major incident exercises for third-year nursing students to date and another is planned for June this year.

One of the latest events was run in collaboration with the British Transport Police and focused on knife crime.

Its aim

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Mass casualty simulation exercises play an essential part in making the transition from student to qualified practitioner as smooth as possible

Simulation exercises expose nursing students to potential mass casualty incidents and help them to prepare for a multi-agency approach to practice, as well as giving them confidence under pressure.

The University of South Wales has hosted three simulated major incident exercises for third-year nursing students to date and another is planned for June this year.

One of the latest events was run in collaboration with the British Transport Police and focused on knife crime.

Its aim was to expose 80 nursing students to an unfamiliar major incident and test their resilience and ability to cope in such situations.

Help students to think and act quickly

In so doing, the university hopes to develop confident Welsh practitioners, who can adapt to any situation, work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team and think and act quickly.

The University of South Wales has excellent simulation facilities. Its simulation centre consists of two four-bed ward bays, an emergency department (ED) majors unit with five trolleys, intensive treatment unit and paediatric rooms.

‘Simulation reduces the shock factor of entering practice in a real-life clinical setting and helps to build a student’s confidence and competence’

The scenario involved the normal running of a hospital already at capacity, an ED and several casualties who had been stabbed at a local train station – 13 of whom arrived at the ED.

Skills and care interventions monitored

Patients were decanted into the hospital, arriving at various times with an array of different mocked-up conditions and injuries.

All students were exposed to various aspects of the scenario and their behaviour, attitude, interpersonal skills and effective care interventions were monitored and evaluated.

A debrief session after the simulation allowed participants to analyse their actions and learn from the event. The future preparedness of students to deal with a major incident, and work and interact with a range of different professionals was discussed and reflected on.

Practice outside comfort zone

Nursing students gave positive feedback about the event and said they felt better prepared for their future roles as qualified practitioners after being given the chance to practice outside their comfort zone.

Benefits of simulation training include:

  • It plays an essential part in making the transition from student to qualified practitioner as smooth as possible.
  • It reduces the shock factor of entering practice in a real-life clinical setting and helps to build a student’s confidence and competence.
  • Large-scale simulation can be achieved and delivered in an educational setting to aid the development of resilient future practitioners.

About the authors

Sara MorganSara Morgan is senior lecturer nursing at the Faculty of Life Science and Education at the University of South Wales, and committee member of the Emergency Care Association

 

 

Bridie JonesBridie Jones is an academic subject manager for professional practice and development at the University of South Wales

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