AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - A graduate nursing student helped prepare future nurses for potential disasters Wednesday.
The exercise put the triage skills of Georgia Southwestern State University nursing students to the test, in hopes of helping them save lives after they graduated.
The scenario was a simulated car crash involving pedestrians, and the helpers were the 67 nursing students.
"I have been in their shoes, and I know what it's like to be a brand new nurse," said Laci Martin, the GSW Masters of Science in Nursing student who organized the exercise.
According to Martin's research, natural and human-initiated disasters are happening more often, though many nursing students don't learn what to do in that scenario.
"They just may have to respond with us," explained Chris Holloway, a firefighter with Americus Fire Department who helped throughout the exercise. "They may have to come out and go to a scene that they're not used to."
Different emergency agencies, including an Air Evac Lifeteam, helped ensure the exercise looked as similar to real life as possible.
The nurses focused on learning to triage: assess each patient's situation, and move on from those who are dead or "walking wounded," to the more serious cases.
"A lot of times we can get caught up in trying to save everyone, and in the process of that more people can be harmed," said Martin.
Holloway said the exercise is a learning experience, but will greatly impact first responders in the future.
"Getting us all together just means we're going to be able to function as a team, and that's what we need in this community," Holloway explained.
The students had two other parts to their exercise.
One taught how to put patients on backboards, and another simulated a real hospital.
Some of the other agencies that participated included the Sumter County Emergency Management Agency, South Georgia Technical College, Phoebe Sumter, Magnolia Manor, and public health nurses from Albany.