by Blake Bramblett

CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews) – Truett-McConnell College nursing students participated in the first ever mock disaster drill conducted on the front lawn Tuesday, April 14th.21

While volunteers from the student body acted as wounded victims of a Tornado disaster, senior nursing studentsrushed to find the victims and treat their fictitious wounds.

“The important part is that you work together as a team. Each person has their assignment, and it’s important to stick with the assignment that you’re given,” said TMC’s Nursing Division Chair, Celeste Dunnington.

“Even working in a hospital there are drills that are done so that when it actually happens you go to your location and you do what you have been assigned to do,” Dunnington continued.

Charity Estes, a senior in the nursing program, shared of the physical signs the nursing students look for in a disaster situation: “We look at vital signs and we assess their airway, breathing, and circulation first. We make sure they have pulses and that they’re breathing properly.”

Citing the drill as a learning experience, Estes shared how it was difficult at times: “It was hard because the patients were acting out their symptoms and so I couldn’t actually listen to them and know what was going on” she said. “So I had to go on their subjective responses, which made it really difficult. The biggest [challenge] was the patients that just kept dying but we didn’t know why because we weren’t able to figure out what was going on with them.”

Preparation for the future

“This is important because our nursing students will be out in the community working in certain situations in which disasters may occur, and at that time we will be responsible for running a disaster drill” said Paula Trimiar, a senior in the nursing program.

Lisa LaPree, Assistant Professor of the nursing division, was also on the scene and shared of the importance of preparing students in real-life scenarios like this: “This is the first time that we have ever done a disaster drill [and] this is our senior class [doing] the drill with about 20 victims that they’re looking for,” LaPree said.

“Our nursing students are not just going to be working in the hospital, some of them want to work on the mission field as nurses and there is no telling what they might see on those mission fields in foreign countries; this will help prepare them and they need to know how to triage a patient no matter what area they work.”

The TMC nursing program hopes to expand these drills in the future so students can learn in a realistic environment. “We will do an evaluation of this event and determine things that we could have done better,” Dunnington shared. “We will probably work in conjunction with the EMS, and actually plan something on a larger scale.”

Regardless of the size, it is clear that TMC’s first mock disaster drill was a success for the students.

“I learned that I have to work hard and fast in what I do, [and] in an emergency situation you have to think fast and respond at the same time,” Estes said. “You have to work as a team or you won’t accomplish anything and you won’t save lives.”


Blake is a junior Psychology and Missions major and a freelance writer for TMC.

Photos/Adam Roark






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