Drexel’s Certification in Simulation conference, held at Hahnemann Hospital’s Center for Interdisciplinary Clinical Simulation and Practice earlier this month, was interrupted to alert attendees that the building down the block was being demolished and they would have the opportunity to watch it on television. Using actual footage from the Nov. 15, 2009 Drexel power plant tower implosion, conference attendees were told they were seeing live shots of the event. As the building in the video started to fall, the attendees heard crashing noises and received news that the implosion had gone terribly wrong, sending parts of the power plant building on top of Hahnemann.
The conference participants saw a simulated fire and were told that the hospital was being evacuated but there were patients and nurse casualties with (simulated) critical injuries. The group donned safety gear and grabbed flashlights and first aid kits and left on a mission to save lives.
Participants were led to a dark room with overturned medical equipment and simulated pipes, wires and insulation coming through the ceiling. An artificially created mist lingered and red alarm lights were flashing. They went to work and soon found that some of their “patients” were actually mannequins simulating multiple injuries such as compound fractures, impaled objects and embedded glass. Other “patients” were actually actors and Drexel staff playing the role of injured nurses.
The use of disaster simulation, actors as standardized patients and specially designed computerized mannequins are teaching tools in medicine to demonstrate the importance of crisis resource management, good communication and working as part of a team. The participants experience real-world events and learn to apply their skills in crisis without risk to real patients.
After great team work, participants had the opportunity to discuss what they learned and how they might use simulation for training or educating others in their own facilities and classes.
Stay tuned for the next Drexel “disaster” during the Certificate in Simulation conference in May 2012.