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Crash Course

Community Health Nursing

crowd of students at college park center

NURS 4462

In this class, senior nursing students tackle a special assignment that can include an Air Evac helicopter, hazmat gear, and a badly burned woman with a brain hemorrhage. It’s up to the 100 or so students enrolled in Community Health Nursing to decide how to treat patients—simulation manikins or human actors—in a mass disaster drill. “During a true disaster, there’s no perfect answer,” says Susan Cherry, lead faculty for community health nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “You go with your gut, using the assessment and triage skills learned. You categorize the patients, treat ’em, and ship ’em out.” Working in teams, students determine who needs immediate attention and who can wait. They also learn to operate in tandem with other first responders, including police, fire, ambulance, and helicopter operators. “The helicopter really gets their attention,” says Cherry, who teaches the class and oversees the drill. “It’s a great opportunity to see how the community comes together to respond.”