Training Tomorrow's Heroes
After gunshots rang out on the College of DuPage campus, students from six health and emergency response programs, as well as police officers from the COD Police Department and area firefighters, gathered on the scene. A domestic dispute between a married couple resulted in a burning apartment, a wife who sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen and two injured children. One child had jumped from a second story window while a second child was trapped in the couple’s smoke-filled apartment.
Of course, no one was actually hurt. It was all part of a comprehensive simulation designed to provide COD students with an invaluable learning experience.
The simulation, which took two months to plan, incorporated several high-tech training areas in two recently constructed buildings on the College’s Glen Ellyn campus and involved students from six disciplines. The exercise began with the dispute enacted on the indoor street scene in the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center. As events unfolded, EMT students assisted victims on the scene, then transported them to the Hospital Simulation Lab in the Health and Science Center. There, Nursing students assessed the patients and transported them to various other education labs, including the CT Lab, Nuclear Medicine Lab and the Simulated Operating Room.
Alexis Hernandez was one of the students on the scene. She said the simulation, particularly the interaction between the disciplines, provided her and her fellow students a great learning experience.
“I learned that communication is key and that through it all, it is the patient’s emergency, not your own,” said Hernandez. “The patient will already be scared and emotional. The last thing he or she needs is for the EMT to add to that stress by becoming emotionally distracted or forgetting to pass on vital information.”
Having previously served as a firefighter and engineer in the U.S. Navy, Hernandez has since completed COD’s EMT program and plans to continue her education while working as an EMT. She said that along with reinforcing confidence in her skills and knowledge, as well as a sense of pride in her team, the simulation helped solidify her decision to pursue a degree in nursing.
Recent nursing program graduate Timothy Clouser was another student involved in the exercise. He said that the scenario provided a comprehensive view of an emergency situation.
“The simulation was fantastic—it was really well planned,” said Clouser. “We were able to see the situation from the beginning. We had to communicate with the EMTs and the respiratory team and hand the patients off to the surgical team. It was really interesting and informative to see how that all played out.”
Clouser, who plans to spend several years providing care in impoverished and war-torn countries through the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, said that he benefitted from the exercise in several ways. The most rewarding was to see his education at work.
“There’s always the question of ‘Can I handle it? Am I ready?’” said Clouser. “This simulation showed that I can really do the work I’ve been training for. We do clinicals at the hospital, but during the clinical, you function as a student. During this scenario, you function as a professional—you have to know what you’re doing.”
According to Nursing and Health Science Simulation Labs Manager Donna Perchatsch, the simulation exceeded the expectations of the planners and provided an invaluable learning opportunity to the students involved.
“This exercise provided students with the chance to collaborate as team members with other disciplines and to effectively communicate with each other,” Perchatsch said. “Teamwork and accurate communication is vital in promoting better outcomes for patients in today’s health care settings and to have the opportunity to put these lessons into practice was a wonderful takeaway for the students.”
Plans for next year’s simulation are already underway. According to Associate Dean/Director of Continuing Education and the Homeland Security Training Institute Tom Brady, this simulation wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago.
“We couldn’t have achieved a multidisciplinary exercise of this scope without the phenomenal facilities and cutting-edge equipment we now have available,” said Brady. “Next year, we want to include even more of the departments and disciplines here at the College and make the simulation even bigger and more comprehensive.”
Students from six COD Health Sciences programs responded to a domestic violence simulation recently held on campus.
At top: Students from six College of DuPage Health Sciences programs practiced their skills
in response to a domestic violence simulation held on campus. The exercise began on
the street scene in the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center and involved
officers from the COD Police Department and area firefighters. EMT students then transported
patients to the Hospital Simulation Lab in the Health and Science Center, where Nursing
students assessed the patients and transported them to various other education labs,
including the CT lab, Nuclear Medicine lab and the Simulated Operating Room. Photo by Terence Guider-Shaw/special to College of DuPage
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College of DuPage
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn IL 60137
Students from six College of DuPage Health Sciences programs practiced their skills as they responded to a domestic violence simulation that was held on campus.
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
(630) 942-2800 (Main)
(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)
2017 College of DuPage