Results of a mass casualty incident simulation in an undergraduate nursing program

Nora Zinan, Denise Puia, Terry Kinsley


Background: Nurses in collaboration with fire rescuers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and doctors are often called to be first responders to world-wide disasters ranging from terrorist attacks to catastrophic weather events. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has established the need for disaster-preparedness education in baccalaureate nursing programs. Limited research has been conducted about the impact of utilizing simulation as an educational tool to prepare nursing students for disaster response.  This paper presents the results of a simulation of a mass casualty incident utilizing low-fidelity and static manikins, as well as actors to play the role of victims, family members and news personnel.

Methods: One hundred and seven students from traditional and accelerated second-degree programs participated in a simulation in the roles of victims as well as providers. A quasi-experimental pre- and post-test design was used to assess students’ self-perceptions.

Results: Statistically significant improvement in self-perceived knowledge, attitudes and skills was seen. Students who participated as victims or providers reported similar improvements.

Conclusions: Well-designed and concise mass casualty incident simulation is a valuable educational tool that can be easily incorporated into nursing curricula, with students undertaking the role of either a victim or a provider.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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