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Nursing students take part in FEMA training

UNG nursing students and faculty members took part in Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster preparedness training during the spring semester.

Twenty-eight Bachelor of Science in Nursing students and three faculty members from the University of North Georgia (UNG) took part in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster preparedness training.  

UNG was one of 12 universities from the Southeast to take part in the March 20-22 event at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.

Nina Wright, faculty member and population health course coordinator in UNG's Department of Nursing, was grateful for what the students were able to experience. Faculty members Dr. Julie Behr and Julia Tokarz also took part in the training.

"It is really good to see that what we are teaching in the population and public health nursing course aligns with national disaster preparedness education," Wright said. 

The training focused on response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives events, including in part how health care professionals can protect themselves while aiding those who need medical assistance. An example that was referenced on multiple occasions was the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. 

"This training was very applicable," Landen Johnson, a senior from Loganville, Georgia, said. "It felt very real." 

Mia Yeager, a senior from Flowery Branch, Georgia, particularly appreciated the sort, assess, lifesaving interventions, treatment/transport (SALT) triage opportunity students had in a mass casualty incident room. The activity featured teddy bears spread throughout the room, representing injured people, with a note about the extent of their injuries.  

"We were able to apply what we learned earlier in the training," Yeager said.  

Bill Selesky, a senior from Denver, Colorado, also felt like that portion of the training was one of the most impactful. 

"We individually placed IVs, performed wound care, placed an airway, braced a broken ankle, applied tourniquets, and talked through simulated emergency care, all while suited up in a class C HAZMAT suit," Selesky said.  

Dr. Heather Harris, department head of nursing, said the benefits from this training will benefit the students' communities in the years ahead.

"We were excited to partner with FEMA to provide our nursing students with real-world emergency management experience," Harris said. "Training the next generation of health care providers will ultimately improve community outcomes during disasters in our region."