Disasters come with no advance warning. Preparedness is the key to rapid and well-coordinated medical emergency responses.
Receiving that kind of emergency training during a mock disaster will be 40 acute care nursing students, specializing in airlift medical procedures, and multiple agencies from Geauga County. They will gain critical response skills during the 2008 National Flight Nurse Academy Camp's disaster exercise on Friday, August 15, from 12:30-4 p.m. at the university's Squire Valleevue Farm, 37125 Fairmount Blvd. in Hunting Valley. The camp is sponsored and conducted by Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
The drill is just one component of the five-day camp, August 11-15, for the students who will travel from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as from Texas to Canada to attend the National Flight Nurse Academy Annual Summer Camp.
Christopher Manacci, director and founder of the National Flight Nurse Academy, provides few details about what the disaster simulation entails in order to give everyone a real-life experience of arriving on the disaster scene. Participants must then use their learned skills to assess the emergency needs of the victims to coordinate control of the situation with the combined help of police, fire, medical teams and other agencies as needed.
In past years, disaster drills involved nursing students and emergency crews dealing with car and airplane crashes that used live actors as simulated crash victims.
"This year, the disaster involves no crashes or trauma, but many victims," said Manacci, adding that it will involve agencies beyond police and fire responders.
He explained that this scenario will help the Geauga County agencies with their preparedness in the event of a disaster of a similar kind.
A main focus of the National Flight Nurse Academy Summer Camp is caring for patients in unstructured environments. On Thursday, August 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the participants will practice skills to prepare patients and then load them for air medical flights to medical centers. An emergency helicopter from the Cleveland Clinic will arrive at and take off from the farm as part of that training.
Also participating in the camp is a team of students and faculty members from Aichi Medical University College of Nursing in Nagakute, Japan (near Nagoya). Aichi has forged an agreement with the nursing school and university to provide research and academic support to establish a similar postgraduate advanced practice flight nurse program at their institution. Such a collaboration will help Aichi set a revolutionary new standard for nursing education in Japan, where flight nurses do not yet have the same authority as their American counterparts.
The Japanese student nurses and faculty are preparing to launch Aichi's Center for Nursing Practice and Research in October. This new center is patterned after Case's Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty at the Bolton School. A training camp, similar to Case Western Reserve's program, will be held in Japan next April.
For two years the Bolton School has worked with Aichi to design an acute care program, the first of its kind in Japan, to respond to new Japanese regulations that require the equivalent of a nurse practitioner with specialized training to be part of medical air response teams.
Because flight nursing is relatively new to Japan, a documentary film crew from Tokyo-based Global Photo Associates will videotape the training to show Japanese audiences how a career as a flight nurse evolves, Manacci said. He added that Case Western Reserve is also assisting in the development of flight nursing programs in Australia and Oita, Japan.
The Acute Care Nurse Practitioner flight nursing specialty at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is the only master's program in the United States specializing in this type of healthcare training. For more about the program, go online.
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