Northern Tier nursing students take part in mock disaster
MIDDLEBURY TOWNSHIP — A number of students from the Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Penn College at Wellsboro recently participated in a drill at the Middlebury Township Dairy Farmers of America milk plant to simulate a hazardous-material spill with multiple casualties.
Before participating, the students underwent online training in chemical, biological, environmental, radiological and natural disasters. They also participated in seminars that examined various types of disasters, the National Incident Management System and triage.
In addition to playing the role of victims during the drill, students participated in a safety briefing and post-incident debriefing. They were also given the opportunity to provide feedback from their perspective as victims.
Students interacted with fire and emergency medical services personnel from several county departments, including the Middlebury, Crooked Creek, Tioga and Wellsboro volunteer fire departments; the Wellsboro Ambulance Association; and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital Advanced Life Support.
“Getting to participate was a great opportunity for the students,” said Alex W. Borzok, instructional specialist for practical nursing at the Wellsboro campus. “To be able to not only be a patient, but to get the opportunity to see the evolution of an on-scene response – and experiencing what patients go through before they arrive at a hospital – is an important part of being able to effectively care for your patient.”
The opportunity to learn another aspect of the health care continuum is only part of the lesson, he added.
“Being a participant in a drill like this is not only important to make those connections from theory into practice,” Borzok explained. “It is also important to learn that, as nursing professionals, we have a civic responsibility to not just live, work and care for people in our communities, but we also must give back to them.”