A group of Shawnee Mission students recently completed a true-to-life simulation that helped them step into the shoes of an emergency response team.
Their school building, the Center for Academic Achievement, served as the location of a simulated natural disaster so that senior-level Medical Science 2 students could apply their knowledge.
It was a scenario designed to help them receive a relevant, real-world learning opportunity. Connie Gandy, Medical Science Instructor, ensured all Medical Science students could be involved, with some students portraying the role of those needing care. Other students assumed rescuer roles to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world way.
Each student responded as if a large tornado had hit, with little warning and multiple people needed help throughout the building.
“It was a great opportunity to experience the difference between treating and caring for a patient, which we have studied for two years, and then understand what it means to only be able to triage patients after a major catastrophe,” Kaitlin Zapolnik, senior student shared.
Following the simulated experience, students debriefed with discussions in order to better evaluate what the experience taught them and understand what students learned as patient and responder.
Some spoke about the challenges of making decisions of who to treat and deciding how to use resources most efficiently.
Several shared with Gandy that this experience far outweighed their expectations.
“My initial objective was to focus on teaming, communication, and problem-solving, what the students experienced was so much more,” Gandy expressed.
The rapid changes of the scenario added even more challenges, Cielo Mendez, a senior in Medical Science 2 stated.
“Just when I was becoming comfortable understanding how to take care of just one patient, we walk into a mass casualty event and everything, my whole mindset, had to change,” Mendez shared. “I enjoyed this experience because it was different …. it definitely kept me on my toes.”