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December 9, 2012

Getting ready for the real thing

Ivy Tech students participate in mock emergencies, discussions

SELLERSBURG — Coming upon the crash, a group of nurses were begged to help the victims. After assessing the injuries, they decided who got immediate treatment, who could wait and who wasn’t going to make it.

Next week, those nurses will graduate from Ivy Tech Community College and enter the health care profession for real.

On Friday, second-year nursing students pulled together all their skills for the school’s Putting It All Together professional day. Students participated in a mix of discussions and hands-on simulations a week before they get their degrees.

Jessica Konkler, a second-year nursing student, said she thinks the experience she got from the event will serve her well in the field and when she gets ready to take her National Council Licensure Examination.

“It was a great experience, we all really appreciate it,” Konkler said. “It was something new for Ivy Tech and I hope all the other students get to participate in it as time goes on. It was a great review for the NCLEX, we got to communicate with a lot of medical professionals and get great advice on how to communicate as a graduate nurse.”

Students discussed several nursing topics with professionals and run exercises in emergency situations in the school’s new simulation labs. The labs are outfitted with hospital beds, medical equipment and simulated patients that instructors can manipulate outside the room to mimic a variety of emergency situations.

Chris Pennington, coordinator for simulation labs, said the students get a good chance to apply their knowledge in the labs and that they were especially beneficial in the event.

“Hands-on experience is especially helpful because it allows students to put into action the material they’ve learned rather than stay in a lecture kind of situation,” Pennington said. “It just kind of helped them to correlate and bring together all the information they’ve learned throughout the semester.”

She said while students still participate in traditional clinicals where they watch actual patients receive treatment, the labs allow them to think critically about how to treat a patient without causing harm to anyone.

Donna Knies, a nursing instructor, helped organize the event and bring in professionals to work with students. She said giving students a chance to exercise their knowledge while still having professionals nearby to answer questions was a big advantage for the ones graduating.

“I think it was a great reinforcement,” Knies said. “They’re getting ready to take their NCLEX to pass the board. It was a hands-on, laid back atmosphere and they could ask any questions they had.”

But first-year students also got involved. Some helped move students from station to station, while others acted as victims in the bus crash for the mock-up triage.

Pennington said she was happy all students had a chance to get involved with the event.

“The first-year students were helping with the mass casualty participating as the patients, but it also helped them to kind of see where they’re going to be in a few semesters and interact with some of the more seasoned students,” Pennington said. “So it kind of gave them a look at what their future is and what they’ll be learning.”

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