This Is Only a Drill for Future Nurses

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DUNMORE -- Nursing students attending Penn State Worthington Scranton campus received some real-life training Thursday during a disaster drill.

Mock victims were all over the lawn for the students to learn how to treat patients if the worst ever happens.

This is the first time an exercise like this was done at Penn State Worthington Scranton.

There were two simulations: an explosion at a building and a fire in a hospital ICU. Both were realistic and an important lesson for the future nurses.

The screaming and simulated injuries seemed real. Then came the distractions that would come with any disasters, and senior nursing students at Penn State Worthington Scranton had to deal with all of that.

They were the first responders after a mock explosion.

"Even though it was just pretend, it was really chaotic," said student Tara Calvey.

The students had to assess each patient, prioritizing who needed care first. They had to get patients to safety and treat them with very few supplies.

Professional emergency responders helped some, but left split-second decisions to the nurses-to-be.

"Because it's very difficult when you are in an anxiety-producing situation to think clearly and to make those decisions -- who is going to get treated first and who is going to be left behind," said Linda McAndrew, Penn State nursing instructor.

The exercise is meant to simulate a disaster happening, but a real-life disaster would have even more chaos.

"It's frustrating because you want to be able to save as many people as you can," said Calvey.

"Pretty indescribable," said student Mike Depietro.  "Everyone was just running around. The victims did a really good job."

The other scenario during the exercise simulated a hospital ICU on fire. Patients had to be rushed to safety.

"Yeah, everything just gets real chaotic, and it just helps you for the real life event out there."

Afterwards, there was a chance to review what happened and realize a nurse has to be ready just in case.

"You never know what's coming in the door," said McAndrew. "You never know what's going on outside, so you have to be prepared for anything."

Newswatch 16 had a role in the drill, showing nurses how the news media's quest for information can also be a challenge they have to face.

The hope is to do this drill at Penn State Worthington Scranton every year.

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