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Bellin College, MCW-Green Bay take part in disaster simulation

The Bellin College Atrium and Health Sciences Resource Center of Bellin College was transformed Thursday, April 18, 2019, into a simulated multi-casualty tornado event. The simulation aimed to give students at Bellin College and the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay a chance to practice skills learned in the classroom and at various clinical sites.

The event is the culmination of multiple departments working together for the past 4-5 months to give students the real-world experience in a controlled environment. Students in the nursing, radiologic sciences and sonography programs and M2 students with Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay took part in the event.

“This simulation allows students the opportunity to not prepare for the simulation like they have in the past and to have to come in and not know what role they will have, what kind of patients they will work with and what will need to be done,” said Kathie DeMuth, assistant professor of nursing for Bellin College.

Staff volunteers and students were staged in the Atrium area to recreate all aspects associated with a multi-casualty event. In total, there were 42 “patients” for students to contend with and prioritize, as they would if it were a real-life scenario. These simulated patients also received realistic-looking makeup, or moulage, to increase the legitimacy of his or her injuries.

“Disasters are increasing at local, national, and global levels, as is the need for all nurses and communities to be prepared,” said Kevin Stringer, HSRC technology specialist. “Today’s graduating nurses need strong skills in disaster nursing to manage a variety of disasters in a local to a global context. Nurses can bring unique skill sets to manage emergency situations, including proper assessment, priority recognition, communication, and collaboration skills. Competency in these skills allows nurses to make accurate, life-altering decisions in highly emergent and demanding situations. This realistic, hands-on activity approach allows them to experience a disaster before job placement.”

Students were joined by various healthcare professionals from the area along with the Bellevue Fire and Rescue Department and County Rescue Services. Eight doctors and several nurses were on campus to help guide students in their simulation.

Dr. Brad Burmeister

“The disaster drill is really an exciting event for all of the students,” said Dr. Brad Burmeister, clinical professor with Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Bellin Health doctor. “This is my second year involved as a faculty member at the Medical College of Wisconsin – Green Bay campus. While the opportunity to hone some clinical skills is certainly present for the disaster, the biggest asset and unique opportunity are to work with other students.

“Oftentimes interprofessional collaboration is difficult to emulate for a student — they often are working and learning sort of independently in the clinic, ER, or in the OR,” he said. “Putting them in charge of a disaster though forces them to work together and communicate. While our group did great with communication, we had a good conversation at the debriefing about how communication could be better in the future.”

Sonography and radiology students also assisted with the simulation drill. The different departments often don’t get a chance to work together, but got their chance during the event.

“Imaging students have worked with the nurses in different aspects before, but not in a disaster situation. We have these objectives for all students. Interprofessional communication is key,” said Christina Smith, radiologic sciences instructor.

The main objectives for participating students are: 

  • Appreciate the importance of interprofessional communication
  • Demonstrate effective use of knowledge, skills and abilities to safely provide patient care
  • Collaboratively and implement interventions based on assessments and priorities
  • Identify value of partnerships in provision of quality patient care

Staff usually conducts two simulation events per year — in spring and fall. They can range from a shooting incident, fire and anything in between.

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BSN student represents college, state at NSNA convention in Salt Lake City

Bellin College BSN junior student Caroline Wagner joined three other nursing students to represent the Wisconsin Student Nurses’ Association at the National Student Nurses’ Association April 2-7 at the 67th Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 3,000 other nursing students from the U.S. took part in the convention.

While she was at the convention, Caroline met with state presidents from across the country to share what individual states take part in with hopes of gaining new ideas to bring back to Wisconsin. In addition, she participated in a three-day NCLEX Review Course, attended focus sessions such as “Medical-Surgical Nursing Made Insanely Easy” and “Pharmacology Made Insanely Easy” to learn strategies to remember important nursing topics, attended a scholarship reception only for a select few who received The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association scholarships and also got certified through the American Red Cross-Disaster Certification in Sheltering and Disaster Health for nursing students.

Student nurses in attendance also heard from various speakers about nurses needing a seat at the innovation table, encouraging nurse innovators and entrepreneurs in the workforce to be a part of companies that are trying to create health systems or equipment without needed input from nurses.

Caroline also had official business to attend to while at the convention. She served as the Wisconsin state delegate, participating in business meetings only for delegates to vote on resolutions and by law amendments as well as voting for the new NSNA board.

Besides being a delegate for the NSNA during this convention, she is also the Vice President of BSNA, President of Student Senate and a student ambassador.

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You’re coming to nursing school at Bellin College, now what?

Community outreach is one of the many opportunities available to students at Bellin College.

Congratulations! If you are reading this, then there’s a good chance you have chosen nursing as your intended profession. I am here to tell you that you are in store for a whole lot of smiles, sweat, tears, unforgettable moments and a profession that will continuously keep you on your toes. You will be there for people during their best and worst moments in life (I’ve only been in healthcare for a few years so that is saying a lot!). I am sure that you are feeling a bit nervous as you start on this new journey, but I want you to know that WE ALL HAVE BEEN THERE! Every single nurse, CNA, doctor, or anyone else who you may encounter in healthcare has started at the beginning — just like you. So whether you have years of previous medical experience under your belt or area a complete newbie, we all continue to learn new things every day. When I started nursing school, I remember having absolutely no clue about what to expect. My hope is these tips relieve some of those beginning jitters and help you feel a little less alone in this new world of nursing school.

Tip #1: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

Nursing school is about to take up so much of your time it isn’t even funny. It can be tough at first to establish a routine, but if there is one thing I can say to help you juggle all the madness it would be to map out every … little … thing. Your schedule will soon become your new bible and you must quickly learn how to keep track of exams, papers, clinical preparation worksheets and your sacred study time.  At the beginning of each semester, sit down and record every lecture, exam, assignment, clinical, and whatever else may be on your schedule or planner. It’s important also to plan your study time. Other students and myself have found that giving yourself small, frequent, two-to-three hour study sessions rather than using a whole day attempting to cram everything you learned in, is much more helpful when preparing for exams. I’d recommend using a bit of time after each lecture to go through your notes, even if you are just rereading what you’ve just written. Find those study habits that work best for you and stick to them. Give yourself breaks when you’ve deserved them and try your best not to completely deprive yourself of sleep (If you didn’t like coffee before — trust me — you will.)  As I know you’ve heard over and over again, nursing school takes up A LOT of one’s time. Although it can be tough to balance all that is required of you, keeping a detailed schedule helps you to stay on top of everything.

Tip #2: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Nursing school is your opportunity to soak in every ounce of learning that you can receive. When given the choice on a clinical site, try choosing somewhere you wouldn’t have expected yourself to be. Surprisingly enough, most nurses end up nowhere near the specialty they had originally planned on working. 

Once in your clinical setting, take every opportunity available to you. Ask questions, offer assistance, and become someone the staff looks to first for additional help when needed. There is always something to learn, do, or see as a student and now is your time to take advantage of these experiences.  With that being said, get out of your social comfort zone as well! Bellin College has student organizations such as Ambassador’s Club, Student Senate, Bellin Student Nurses Association (BSNA) and numerous others, all of which are extremely welcoming and are a great way to meet other students outside of class.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of Help

Accepting help from others is something I know everyone struggles with. Bellin College offers a huge array of helpful services and I 100% recommend that you take advantage of them! The Student Success Center offers tutoring sessions taught by students who have previously passed the course. In addition, Bellin College faculty are always more than willing to sit down with students to discuss content and exams or practice skills. Please, please, please take advantage of these resources as they will only strengthen your abilities as a nurse! The faculty especially likes to help in any way they can and creating professional relationships with them is always a benefit for your future. (I promise you, they are WAY less intimidating to talk to than you think!)

Additional Recommendations:

Corrina Dart

» Purchase a set of shoes that you will use for clinical and clinical alone. Currently, you are required to wear all white shoes. Most students wear typical Nike tennis shoes or something of the sort. Unless you plan to wear them for years, please do not spend a fortune on these. They will very quickly become dirty and you will be walking miles (yes I said miles) each day in them. If you are looking more long term, I do highly recommend Danskos. These shoes are a bit pricy but hold up very well. Each person has their own opinion on them though, so I would definitely try them out before buying.

» Get yourself a reliable stethoscope. I personally use the Littmann Classic III stethoscope and it works great. Any Littmann or MDF is typically reliable. This will be something you will use throughout your entire time in nursing school as well as after you graduate. A good stethoscope makes a huge difference.

» Your clipboard will become an essential part of your clinical rotations. Amazon has a huge variety of these. Type in “nursing clipboard” and you’ll know exactly what I mean. I recommend the Tribe RN Nursing Clipboard. It has normal vitals, lab values, ABGs, and medication calculations printed on the back; all of which are super helpful while you’re still beginning to learn these during busy clinical days.

» If your clinical instructor, professor, or classmates offers a daily report worksheet to you, TAKE IT. Accumulate and save as many of these spreadsheets as possible. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, these are printable sheets that are used every day as a nurse. It helps immensely when keeping track of vitals, assessment, meds, tests, therapies, or really anything else that may involve your patient throughout the shift. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to these, and you will quickly learn which layout works best for you. Having worksheets given to you from others who have been there before makes narrowing it down much easier.

» Lastly, the best thing I can tell you is to take care of yourself. Set aside time to do things that you enjoy and don’t let the stress of school take over your life. Make an effort to create friends in nursing school; they will be the people you can relate to most during your college experience. Keep up the motivation; I promise you there IS light at the end of the tunnel! You are headed into a respectful and rewarding career. Know that even on the hardest of days, you are your patient’s biggest advocate, supporter, and their last line of defense. You save lives. You comfort the sick. You cannot expect that to be easy.

Congratulations on picking the GREATEST profession and I wish you the best of luck in your career! 

Corrina Dart
BSN Traditional 2020

The views expressed in this blog entry are her own and are not an endorsement by Bellin College.

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