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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Health Science Center to train students for crisis in simulation

In an effort to prepare students for real-world crisis scenarios, the Texas A&M Health Science Center will host its 10th annual Disaster Day simulation Thursday morning.

This year’s Disaster Day will see 285 students from the colleges of pharmacy, nursing, public health and medicine playing the role of emergency responders, and 474 student volunteers performing as patients. The crisis scenario will be kept secret to all responders until 9:30 a.m. Thursday when the event begins, to ensure that no participants can brainstorm solutions ahead of time and the simulation can be as realistic as possible. Patients will wear stage makeup and become actors for the day to represent victims in the chosen crisis scenario.

Disaster Day was formed after Hurricane Rita led to the evacuation of 3 million Texas Gulf residents, said Holly Shive, public relations director at the A&M Health Science Center. The A&M Large Animal Teaching Hospital became one of the largest human hospitals in Texas during that time, housing 650 Houston and Galveston patients and families. When staff members at the Large Animal Hospital scrambled to volunteer in basic medical care without any set procedures in place for emergencies, the idea for Disaster Day was born in an effort to offer hands-on training in disaster response.

Krystal Bertsch, second-year nursing student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and public relations chair for Disaster Day, said the event offers an impactful learning experience.

“Disaster Day is about providing students with the unique opportunity to learn about disaster preparedness on a large scale,” Bertsch said. “It’s something that you just can’t get in the classroom.”

Second year nursing student and volunteer chair for Disaster Day Rachel Price said crisis training equips students for challenges they may face when they graduate and begin their practice.

“We, as in the Health Science Center, send out a lot of future health care professionals, and we  think it’s really beneficial for them to have this experience of any kind of disaster, and not knowing what it is until the day of, and just be called to do this kind of thing,” Price said.

Brooke Morgan, second year nursing student and deputy incident commander of Disaster Day, said the event allows students to learn how to serve the community.

“We have students here who are actually going to be prepared to serve the community in a very real way. And I think it’s important to note that Disaster Day came as a result of a true disaster event that was the heart of Disaster Day and it continues to be the heart,” Morgan said.  

 

Disaster Day will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Central Baptist Church in College Station.

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