UT Tyler nursing students complete wilderness disaster drill for final exam

UT Tyler nursing students complete wilderness disaster drill for final exam
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:59 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Some UT Tyler nursing students are getting a lesson in an unconventional class setting.

The class is called Nursing in Non-traditional Environments; the location, all night long at Lake Harvey. The nursing students in the course began their final exam at the lake on UT Tyler’s main campus around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon and will end at 8 o’clock Friday morning.

Brian Opella, the assistant clinical instructor for the course, says this is a hyper-realistic wilderness scenario where students are tasked with treating fake patients after a tornado took out both major hospitals in Tyler.

“What they’re doing is putting all the knowledge they learned, all of their survival skills, how to build shelters, how to identify patients, out here,” Opella said.

There are three groups of several students treating five patients. Dr. Glenn Barnes, the head instructor of the course, says they are treating a multitude of different injuries.

“We have fractures, we have lacerations, we have a diabetic patient. Then they stabilized them to be able to package them up to move to a different location and we went around Lake Harvey which is almost half a mile,” Barnes said.

Yajayra Aleman, a student in the class, says this makes them think quickly and on their feet.

“You are just put in a situation where it’s like not necessarily critical thinking, but it’s more of like ‘what I can do’ and ‘what can I use at the moment,’” Aleman said.

The simulation will end in the morning when a helicopter team will teach them how to set up a landing zone.