Thought this was a good story: Chattanooga Times Free Press | Nursing students get emergency training
ROCK SPRING -- Thirty nursing students graduating this week worked a half-day session with local emergency workers at Northwestern Technical College here Monday.
Key personnel from Chickamauga City Schools, local hospitals, sheriffs' offices, police and the Georgia Health Department walked through their roles in a practice scenario in which a local resident tested positive for anthrax contamination.
That scenario would shift much of the training these nurses have seen in a totally different direction in an instant, instructors said.
"Emergency room triage is all about saving each individual life," said Amanda Little, a nursing student in the class. "As far as disaster triage, you would treat the most people to save the most lives."
Ms. Little said standard emergency training would be to treat from worst-affected to least-affected patient. With something like anthrax, the worst-affected patients likely are too far gone to treat effectively, she said.
Judy Baker, instructor for the nurses, said the scenario was designed by Emory University and has been built into the curriculum for nurses to gain a practical understanding of disaster preparedness.
The exercise includes officials from the local community so nurses will understand how other agencies operate during a disaster, she said.
Ms. Baker said it's a close parallel to exercises the nurses will perform at hospitals where they work after graduating.
"This is part of their regular duties," she said. "Every nurse has to be able to do (disaster response)."
Maj. Gary Sisk with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office works as the point person on much of the department disaster training and response.
This was the first nursing class exercise he'd attended to share information with students, but as part of Catoosa County's local emergency preparation committee, he meets with other police, health care workers, government officials, business owners and residents throughout the year for planning and hands-on drills.
"If there's an emergency going on, all aspects of emergency services, health department and health services are going to have to work together," Maj. Sisk said.