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First responders, students simulate accident trauma at James Clemens

MADISON – The staged scene was realistic: crumpled cars after a collision caused by distracted driving; accident ‘victims’ laid out on the ground, some lifeless, others writhing in ‘pain’; and first responders hurrying to rescue passengers.

The trauma simulation at James Clemens High School depended on students and teachers with varying aptitudes, along with Madison Fire and Rescue Department, Madison Police Department and HEMSI.

James Clemens’ health science interns applied emergency first-aid skills to treat injured motorists. The interns also applied critical-thinking skills have developed in class.

To develop patient scenarios, Health Science teacher Ashley H. Steinert applied her Master’s of Science degree in Healthcare Simulation. Captain Ryan Gentry with Madison Fire and Rescue helped with this work. These scenes were realistic as possible while meeting specific objectives of Health Science students.

“Patient scenarios were given to Amy Patel’s theatre students so they can research their roles (in character as wreck casualties) and practice improvisation, a component of their course curriculum,” Steinert said. Firefighters, police officers and EMTs enhanced the accident’s urgency.

To prepare, senior internship students completed a three- to four-week unit on emergency situations and first aid, Patricia M. Collins said. She teaches health science internship. “Our culminating project is our mock trauma where students put into practice everything they have learned through this unit. By far, students say that mock trauma is their favorite day of the semester.”

“Simulation allows our health science students to practice their triage and critical thinking skills in a controlled environment where no patients are actually at risk.” Steinert said. Students are encouraged to learn from their mistakes through reflection during our debriefing, which follows the simulation.”

The simulation is “an intense collaboration that involves JCTheatre, Health Science Internships and JETSpress, who film the simulation to create a PSA about safe driving” (and capture the action as reporters),” Patel said. Her theatre students “research the injuries and symptoms and explore their character relationships and given circumstances. Beyond that, it’s all improvisation for about 45 minutes.”

Theatre students portray patients, relatives or bystanders, who create a challenge for the interns, “who have to balance caring for their patient while also comforting their loved ones,” Patel said.

“The injuries looked very realistic. I’m always impressed by the moulage (wound/injury makeup) for head wounds, impalements and injuries that aren’t visible, really testing the interns’ ability to assess their needs,” Patel said.

“Health Science interns are incredibly professional,” Patel said. “Anyone who just walked up on the scene would believe it was a real accident.”

The exercise allowed James Clemens students in the Health Sciences department to practice emergency first aid skills, including injury assessments, patient stabilization, retrieval from crushed vehicles and stretcher transfers to an awaiting ambulance, Public Relations Manager John Peck said.

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