When every minute counts

A call is dispatched to SJR State basic recruit cadets. The call echoes "man down" in the park, and the scenario-based training begins – not only for the Criminal Justice students, but for students enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician, Respiratory Care and Radiologic Technology programs as well.

During real-life scenarios, students must actively, collectively and quickly assess all details, think through options, make decisions, and apply their skills - all in order to save a life.

According to Gary Killam, SJR State's Director of Criminal Justice, students benefit from putting theory into practice during a training scenario. "Many factors come into play when a multitude of professions and skills must work together," he said.

Holly Coulliette, M.H.S., Associate Dean of Allied Health, agrees. "Providing realistic settings for real-life emergencies helps students retain the exercise at a greater level than could be expected from classroom lectures alone," she said. "The more they understand the various roles it takes to protect and serve the community and its citizens, the better they can work together as a team once they are working in the real world."

Cadets are the first to arrive at the scene to assist the "victim," SJR State instructor Jeremiah Gile. For the training scenario, Gile was robbed, assaulted and suffered multiple fractures. Cadets immediately begin assessing the situation, determining the crime and searching the area for evidence and suspects. Cadets continued their work throughout the scenario by interviewing the victim and witnesses as well as writing the reports.

Emergency Medical Technician students soon arrive to assess the injuries, stabilize the victim and apply a traction splint before transporting him up rough terrain and into SJR State's ambulance. While en route to the College's health-sciences building, the victim experiences trouble with his breathing. Inside the College’s facility, which is designed to simulate a hospital, a team of allied health care students begins assessing his injuries.

Respiratory care students immediately run a patient assessment on the trauma-alert victim who complains it is difficult to breathe. Students take vital signs, listen to breath sounds and give breathing treatments for wheezing to open up the patient’s airway. Students then recommend treatment to the ED physician.

Radiologic technology students bring in the College's mobile imaging equipment to assess suspected fractures and later notify the attending physician when the images are ready for review.

Dr. Anna Lebesch, Vice President for Workforce Development, said interdisciplinary simulations give the students a better understanding regarding the respective discipline’s roles outside of their own professional group. "Collaborative efforts and teamwork increase any patient's survival chances when every minute counts," she said.