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Press Release



April 28, 2009

Multidisciplinary training session helps instructors assess students


The bodies were strewn across the lawn of the allied health building in Winfield. It was an apartment fire scenario and very few made it out unscathed. The trauma victims, from Director of Theater, Scott McLaughlin’s acting class, had ailments ranging from schizophrenia to diabetes and smoke inhalation to a fractured tibia. And it was up to Lead MICT Instructor, Cindy Branscum’s students to evaluate and categorize each victim quickly to prevent loss of life.

Student reporters from Director of Journalism, Meg Smith’s violence in the media course were there to find out the story for the local media. The whole event was captured on video and stills by The Cowley Press photographer, Carly Budd and communications major, Paul Berndsen.

The scenario brought together the four departments in a multidisciplinary training session designed to help instructors assess students in a hands on environment. Smith wrote a detailed back story for each trauma victim. Each character had information imbedded in their story about how the fire may have started. Each was also given specific symptoms to mimic so the MICT students would have clues to how to diagnose them. No single victim knew what really happened and many did not have the same story, but if the students asked the correct questions they would discover whether to send someone to the hospital immediately and who was responsible for the fire.

“It is one thing to read in a book what to do in an emergency situation,” said Smith. “But it is a whole new story when you are faced with real life trauma and things are moving at a fast pace and lives are at stake. We cannot provide such a scenario, but we can put them (students) in a controlled chaos situation and see how they react.”

Department Chair and Director of EMS Education, Chris Cannon said. “I think it was a fantastic opportunity for students in different disciplines to work together in a safe environment and learn from each other.”
This was the first time the departments had joined together on such an endeavor.

“I think it was great,” said Branscum. “The students all really enjoyed it. They enjoyed getting to learn more about the different perspectives from the journalism students and they thought our theater students were great.”

Immediately following the event was a “debriefing” session where each group talked about how the experience went from their perspective. Branscum said her students expressed an appreciation of the other students viewpoints.

“It was cool to see the different perspectives,” said Branscum.

Freshman and violence in the media student, Nickole Vanderwall said, “It was a great learning experience for each group (MICT students, theater students, and reporters). For a reenactment, it was pretty realistic.”

“I think we learned a great deal from this first time through,” said Smith. “I see room for improvement and places to add on to give it a more realistic feel. I hope we can do it again with this class in the fall with a few tweaks here and there.”

Branscum said, they would be up to doing it again.