The scenario for the event centered around a boiler explosion with freshmen nursing students and students from Victory Road Christian Academy serving as the victims, and sophomore nursing students providing medical treatment. Several local police agencies, first responders, fire departments and the Air Evac Life Team served alongside the nursing students during the event.
“This is the first mock disaster that we have had for our nursing students, and I think they responded well,” said Kathy Guyn, division chair for allied health at SKCTC.
Guyn said the event was designed to provide the nursing students with a real life disaster scenario, as well as the most authentic experience possible.
“We wanted the victims to be as realistic as possible. These students will probably have to deal with disaster drills wherever they work in the future. We felt this was a way to enhance their learning and prepare them to go out into the real world,” Guyn said.
Nursing students Rachel Brock and Amanda Wright-Brown said the experience was challenging and added that they were proud of themselves and their classmates.
“It was definitely a realistic learning experience. It was a lot different than being in a lab. This was something that we have never done in class before, so it was a good experience,” Brock said. “I think we did really well. We were nervous and didn’t really know what to expect, but we all pulled together as a group and helped each other out.”
“With so many real disasters going on today, we need to be prepared to handle something like this,” said Wright-Brown, who served as a commander during the exercise. “I didn’t know that being commander would be so stressful. My nerves are shot, but it has been a really good experience. I had a lot of fun.”
Noah Hughes, a sixth-grade student at Victory Road Christian Academy, said he enjoyed acting as a victim during the event.
“It was fun because you got to see how the nurses work,” Hughes said. “I think this was a good experience. We all had fake injuries, but they dressed us up to make them look real.”
In addition to the nursing students, criminal justice students also participated in the event as they practiced crowd control alongside officers from the Kentucky State Police, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office and Cumberland Police Department.
“This was good experience for us,” said sheriff’s deputy Bill Howard. “Anytime you have an event like this you can learn from it. I have been a cop for 21 years, and I learn new things everyday.”
Guyn added that she was proud of the nursing students and said she plans to continue the mock disaster to help educate future nursing students.
“We have a good group of sophomore students. They are going to be successful wherever they go,” Guyn said.”