A firefighter starts a controlled burn at the GHC nursing disaster simulation.

Disaster simulation exercise brings real-world scenario to GHC students

Fire, smoke, a helicopter and simulated wreck was visible from the Georgia Highlands College (GHC) Floyd Campus as the Atrium Health Floyd School of Health Sciences at GHC held its annual nursing disaster simulation this spring. 

With the scenario of a hazardous chemical spill setting the stage for the event, the High Impact Practice and experiential learning opportunity placed nursing students front-and-center in a situation they could face in their career. 

A student gets doused in a disinfecting exercise during the nursing disaster simulation.

Dental hygiene students arrived early to dress as contamination and accident victims while second-year nursing students were tasked with applying the SALT Mass Casualty Triage Algorithm they have learned in the classroom to assess patients in a real-world scenario.  

“The SALT Triage definitely stuck out to me and labeling the victims with the appropriate colors for their degree of injury,” nursing student Evelin Maximo said. “The biggest indicators were airway and bleeding, and obviously we want to address their airway first because if they’re not breathing properly then they could go from a green to a black (color designation), and that would be bad. We also want to address any bleeding early on.” 

Student receives moulage treatment prior to exercise.

The exercise was made possible through community partnerships with local emergency management services. 

“Our students were able to come out, triage patients and also see decontamination practices,” Assistant Director of Nursing Shea Walker said. “This exercise is important because it gives future nurses the opportunity to see the community response to disasters that they may not necessarily see inside the hospital.” 

A helicopter made an appearance during the nursing disaster simulation

Click here to see more photos of the simulation and click here to see a video. 

Learn more about GHC and apply today at highlands.edu