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Students Benefit from Mass Casualty Incident Simulation Training

Edgecombe Community College paramedic students were among the health sciences students who received hands-on training in emergency situations during a recent Mass Casualty Incident simulation training event hosted by the college. ECC partnered with the Rocky Mount Fire Department, Edgecombe County EMS, Nash County EMS, and ECU Health EastCare to conduct the drill.

More than 200 students, instructors, and area emergency medical personnel responded to multiple trauma scenarios through a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) simulation event held October 21 on the Rocky Mount campus of Edgecombe Community College.

The event was organized and directed by Adam Culbertson, fire and EMS coordinator at ECC. This marked the second MCI training hosted by the college. This year’s event featured more students, more health sciences programs, and more outside agencies. Culbertson said the training “far exceeded” his expectations.

ECC EMS, nursing, radiography, respiratory therapy, and surgical technology programs participated along with the Nash Community College EMT and paramedic programs. Participating agencies were Rocky Mount Fire Department, Edgecombe County EMS, Nash County EMS, and the ECU Health EastCare helicopter.

The day began early with ambulances running calls and patients walking into the simulated hospital environment in the Lamm Building on ECC’s Rocky Mount campus. Lamm Building spaces mimic an emergency room, imaging lab, examination rooms, phlebotomy lab, nursing skills lab, nursing assistant lab, debriefing rooms, and a nurses’ station.

Volunteer patients presented with various medical crises, from strokes and burns to gunshot wounds and bear attacks. More than 50 volunteers from ECC, Edgecombe Early College High School, Edgecombe County Public Schools, and the general public served as patients.

The main event began at 1 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Fire Department training grounds on Atlantic Avenue, a short distance from ECC’s Rocky Mount campus. The scenario involved an overturned school bus that had been T-boned by a car. Firemen and EMTs worked to stabilize both the vehicles and patients.

“This event was a great collaboration between our health sciences programs and outside agencies,” Culbertson says. “The students and instructors rocked. And none of this would have been possible without the outside agencies, who supplied personnel, patients, and equipment. In addition, their insight and wisdom were invaluable to me and our students.”

Nursing student Kaitlyn Evans said the simulation training enabled students to “collaborate with other team members and strengthen critical thinking skills and judgment.” Surgical technology student Ashlyn Bohanon said that the fast-paced trauma scenarios provided an opportunity to sharpen her ability to remain calm under pressure.

Ami Denton, program chair and director of ECC’s nursing program, said, “Being able to work with different disciplines, like EMS, respiratory, and x-ray, is an essential skill for our students. Drills such as this closely mimic what happens in a real healthcare setting, where the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively is critical to successful patient outcomes.”

Culbertson said he is pleased with the outcome of the training event. “It was bigger and better than last year’s, and even better than I hoped it would be for our students, who learned so much. I am grateful to all of the participants.”

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