By Steve Larson
Public Affairs Office
An accident in an isolated rural area leaves a victim with a broken leg and other unknown injuries. Local first responders stabilize the patient and determine the best way to get him to medical treatment is by air. The Kansas Army National Guard is called in to provide air support via a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The patient is airlifted to the nearest medical center, where his injuries are further assessed and treatment begins.
That was the scenario of an exercise April 10 at Washburn University Technical College in Topeka. The exercise was a cooperative effort by Washburn Tech and Soldiers from the Kansas Army National Guard’s 1077th Ground Ambulance Company and Company G, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation.
“Washburn Tech is one of our partner institutions in the state,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Bailey. “As a state asset responding to state emergencies, any time we can have interoperability with civilian institutions and civilian agencies, it better prepares us to respond. Working with other people is always a benefit for an organization.”
The faculty and medical students at Washburn Tech found the training to be equally beneficial.
“They get to see a side of health care they may not have gotten to experience before,” said Kristi Mick, Washburn Tech Surgical Technology Program director and simulation center director. “They get to see the partnership between us and the National Guard. It’s a great learning experience and it prepares them for real life patient care.”
Real-life experience was a theme expressed many times by the players in the day’s training as they ran through the complete process.
“That benefits my students because they get to see more real life situations better than we can recreate them in the classroom,” said Wayne Hollis, director of Emergency Medical Technician program at WU Tech. “We couldn’t recreate a classroom that has a helicopter in it, but in this case we’re incorporating patient care, we have incorporated patient transport, we have incorporated transferring the patient to the emergency department in an emergency situation.
“Our students are driving the ambulance, which they may not get a chance to do until they get out in the field on their own. This is just an excellent learning opportunity for all of them.”
“The EMTs are informing us who’s coming in. As nursing students, we’re taking vital signs, and calling the physician and getting orders,” said nursing student Cayla Janosik. “(It’s) real life action, fast-paced in the ER setting. We’ve not done anything like this, so it’s definitely a learning experience.”
“It allows each of the specialties here at the university, as well as the Kansas National Guard to exercise in a practical sense,” said Bailey.
Although the training was intense, there was no lack of enthusiasm for the exercise.
“They love it,” said Hollis. “They want realism. They want real-world experience and this is what we’re giving them.”