Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) nursing students had the golden opportunity to learn what it was like to be a casualty or a grieving family member in a disaster.
The students were part of a Mass Casualty Exercise named Exercise Kingfisher organised by Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. The exercise, a requirement by the Ministry of Health, tests hospitals on the prompt transfer, treatment and care of casualties and their relatives during a civil emergency.
In the exercise, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital prepares for incidents such as major transportation incidents, catastrophic civil disasters, chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear releases or attacks, and major explosions. The hospital has had three rehearsals over the past seven months, leading up to the official exercise on Apr 21.
Ms Thet Thet, module leader for the Nursing Skills Laboratory module said: “The casualty exercise is a unique learning opportunity beyond the classroom for our nursing students to experience first-hand how the public hospital manages a mass casualty situation, whilst still providing adequate care for the existing patients.”
Final-year student Sri Vinayagaputri, 20, who had participated in a rehearsal, said that what brought her back to volunteer again was the sense of fulfillment.
Vinayagaputri, who played a relative, said that this exercise would help nursing students see how a mass casualty incident was handled and show them how to improve on current procedures.
Second-year nursing student, Soh Wai Guan, 18, who played a family member of a casualty, said: “I never felt so terrible in my life.” He was tasked to be “hostile and aggressive” and blame another for the injury inflicted upon his ‘daughter’.
He realised from this exercise that the job of medical social workers and healthcare workers was tough.