Skip to Main Content

Mass Emergency Simulation Trains Nursing and Paramedic Students for Real Life Scenarios


The campus looked like a scene out of a horror movie, but fortunately it was a training exercise for a mass casualty incident orchestrated for Nursing and Paramedic students at Surry Community College.

A propane tank explosion simulation including 10 “victims ” was organized by Dr. Douglas Underwood, Nurse Educator, at Surry Community College at the SCC Emergency Training Center in April. Ann Scott, Lead Course Coordinator for Nursing, assisted with the project.

“The main objective of this training exercise was to expose the students to the process of triage in a disaster or mass casualty incidence. Senior nursing students also had the opportunity to work with other community resources to achieve the best client outcomes, ” said Underwood.

Sixty-two students participated in the exercise including Cosmetology students who prepared the victims with special effect makeup. The “wounded ” were played by Practical Nursing students.

Twelve Nursing Instructors and Emergency Medical Services faculty graded the student-patient interaction. The Surry County EMS also observed the exercise.

A large group, including Surry Community College's Nursing, Paramedic and Cosmetology students and faculty, experienced a mass casualty incident simulation with 10 “victims ” at the college's Emergency Services Training Center on the Dobson campus.

A debriefing session was held at the conclusion of the training event with the Nursing students and faculty. The debriefing revealed successful and positive experiences for the students.

“Benefits expressed by the students were the application of triage assessment techniques to a mass causality incidence and continuing that into treatment areas for major and minor injuries, ” Underwood said. “Additional comments from the students focused on establishing priorities for patient care, barriers to effective transport, and resources available during the event. Students conveyed that the communication between all responding departments was exceptional. Overall, the simulation was a positive learning experience for all students and faculty. ”

Seventeen senior Paramedic students participated in the simulation, which were led by Kenneth Vaught, Instructor and Coordinator for Surry's Emergency Medical Program.

“This provided an excellent opportunity for our students to work with other college departments and get more realistic, hands-on experience, ” said Vaught. “We also conducted a debriefing session where students discussed how a chaotic scene had to be managed by bringing order to provide patient care. ”

Lead SCC Cosmetology Instructor Robin Minton said her students enjoyed doing the moulage for the victims.

“Moulage is the art of applying mock injures for the purpose of training, ” Minton said. “Dr. Underwood gave instructions to our students that the victims would be suffering from burns and injuries due to a propane tank explosion. My students did research and found actual pictures of victims, which they then recreated for this training exercise. One of the victims had shards of glass in the wound, while another had a compound fracture on the arm. Another victim had a gushing wound. The injuries were so realistic that it set a frightening scene for the Nursing and Paramedic students. ”

Surry is continually recruiting students for its Nursing, Emergency Medical and Cosmetology programs.

In addition to the two-year Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program and Practical Nursing (PN) programs, Surry offers Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) an opportunity to enroll in a three-semester LPN-ADN bridge program. Surry has also launched two Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) collaborative programs, (RIBN and LPN-BSN RIBN) with Lees-McCrae College thereby allowing students to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree without leaving Surry's campus in Dobson.

For more information on Surry's nursing programs, contact Associate Dean of Health Sciences Yvonne Johnson, PhD, RN, at (336) 386-3368 or Follow Surry's nursing students on Facebook @surrynursing.

SCC offers EMT-B and Paramedic training at the college's Center for Public for Safety in Mount Airy. Contact Vickie Ramey, Director of EMS Programs, at (336) 386-3330 or Follow the Paramedic program on Facebook @surryems.

The college also offers a degree and a diploma in Cosmetology. Register for fall classes now until Aug. 2. Classes start Aug. 15. For more information about Cosmetology, contact Robin Minton, Lead Instructor, at (336) 386-3570 or Follow the Cosmetology program on Facebook @surrycosmetology.

Want to Learn More?

Choosing a college is an important decision, and we’re pleased that you’re interested in Surry Community College.