The Walking Wounded

Story and Photos by Wade Faast.

Over 200 students along with staff and outside personnel worked together to stage a large scale mock disaster and response at CNM’s Main Campus, Director of Simulation at CNM Richard Gentile said.

Students involved were from six programs from the School of Health, Wellness and Public Safety, he said.

Outside personnel and resources include the Albuquerque Police Department and PHI Air Medical which provided a helicopter ambulance free of charge for the exercise, he said.

The scenario played out was one of domestic violence turned into a mass shooting, he said.

Students from the Public Safety programs worked with APD officers to secure the scene, then students from the EMS program came in and tended to the simulated victims, Gentile said.

The victims of the mock shooting included both live students with fabricated injuries, and human patient simulator manikins, he said.

CNM EMS program students (left to right) Jasmine Garza, Brandon Vasco and Robbie Vigil work on a human simulation manikin in the back of a moving ambulance.

Students in the EMS program then had to triage the victims, the victims where then transported by ambulance or helicopter to a mock hospital housed in the JS building, Gentile said.

“It was challenging with the ambulance moving, but the better you keep your cool, the better you will be able to treat your patient,” EMS student Brandon Vasco said.

EMS students got a chance to work under pressure in a moving ambulance and put their learning to use on the simulator manikins which allowed them to administer medications, intubate, and insert IV’s, all with instant feedback and monitoring, Gentile said.

From the ambulance the victims were taken to a staged hospital where students from the Nursing program would determine how to treat them and send them to a simulated operating room, radiology imaging center, or intensive care unit, he said.

CNM Surgical Technician students Angela Kau (left) and Desiree Gomez conduct a mock surgery on a human simulation manikin in the CNM surgery simulation lab.

The mock disaster response was designed and implemented to bridge the gap between the class room education and real world working conditions, Gentile said.
Students had a chance to work under pressure and stressful conditions while being monitored inside a controlled setting, he said.

The human patient simulator manikins allowed a level of realism not achievable with standard dummies or even live human actors, he said.

The manikins have the ability to breath, talk, move and react to the treatments the students use, Gentile said.

One of the most important aspect of the mock exercise was communication, said CNM instructor and retired USAF Lt. Colonel Bruce Hosea.

Communicating with each other under stress, and learning how to communicate with other fields in a disaster is an extremely important skill, he said.

Moving real people was a great experience for the students as well, a manikin can be dropped or fumbled, but dropping a live person has consequences, he said.

This was the second mock disaster drill CNM’s School of Health, Wellness and Public Safety hosted, the first being a smaller drill this past spring, Gentile said.

CNM plans to continue hosting two such drills a year, one in spring semester and one in fall semester, each growing with success and lessons learned from the previous, he said.

CNM EMS program student Robbie Vigil works to maintain respiration while running with an intubated human simulation manikin.
CNM instructor Shannon Lopez applies a simulation gunshot wound to CNM nursing student Monet Clarke.
PHI employees along with CNM staff work with EMS students to practice a “hot load”, a fast loading of a patient where the helicopter keeps the rotor blades spinning for a quicker take off.

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