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CCGA nursing students take on in drama-filled training
Posted 03/26/2016 12:19AM

By Anna Hall, The Brunswick News

Megan Broughton exited the vehicle, dark bruises circling both of her eyes. Behind her, the car was totaled, the front end smashed and leaning to one side.

A drunk driver had slammed into the vehicle she was driving. People around her were hysterical and the scene itself was sheer chaos.

She felt lucky to be alive.

In truth, the dramatic scene was an act, a practice round for how the nursing student at College of Coastal Georgia would handle a similar situation in real life after she graduates this year and enters the real world of nursing.

"This was a great exercise to show us how to deal with these sort of situations, which in all likelihood, I'll have to do as a nurse," Broughton said.

Across the college's Brunswick campus Friday, areas were roped off, each staging a mini disaster. Students played the parts of victims, of passersby and of medical professionals.

Coordinated by assistant nursing professor Brandy Chambers, the 90-minute crisis and disaster simulation training session also included scenarios such as a tornado scene, a school shooting, a terrorist attack and an emergency room gunshot victim. Portions of the event were also held at Southeast Georgia Health System.

Campus police assisted in the training effort and were present to interact and use the simulation as training for employees, Chambers said.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with numerous departments," Chambers said.

Fellow nursing senior Caroline Watson echoed her classmate's thoughts, dressed in a curly white wig and slightly bizarre attire and playing the part of an elderly woman with dementia.

Her so-called caretaker, assistant nursing professor Joanne Zanetos, created a character who gave little regard for the mock older woman. In their scenario, the assistant professor was forced to take the patient to the emergency room, but instead of following protocol, tried to drop her off at the curb and leave her for healthcare professionals.

Needless to say, the situation did not end well.

"We created a lot of trouble and drama," Watson said.

When students officially enter into their nursing careers, Zanetos said they will encounter such situations. Proper training now, before their diplomas are passed out, is a vital part of their education. Trading classrooms and textbooks for hands-on practice is what will prepare them when they encounter environments where mental health problems, weapons, drugs and alcohol, and erratic behaviors come into play, Zanetos said.

The hour-plus practice experience readily opened her eyes to proper codes of conduct when found in such situations, Watson said.

"We need to know how to deflate situations, to keep patients calm, so we can do our job of caring for them," Watson said. "This exercise today is definitely helpful and I feel confident about how to handle things like this when I'm in the field."

PHOTO: Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

College of Coastal Georgia junior nursing students respond to a wreck simulation with victims played by senior students during a crisis and disaster simulation Friday. The simulation included a tornado scene, school shooting, terrorist attack, emergency room gun shot victim, and a car accident.

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