An unfolding tabletop simulation training exercise on disaster planning for nursing students


Advocate Aurora Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Background: Disaster planning is an essential component for nursing students to learn.

Problem: Clinical experiences of disasters are typically unavailable for nursing students. Increasing frequency of disaster events around the globe has made disaster planning knowledge and skills a critical component in nursing education and professional practice.

Approach: An unfolding tabletop disaster planning exercise was created as a simulation training strategy meant to strengthen essential disaster response skills. The exercise involves 5 realistic scenarios related to a mass casualty event, taking students from the disaster site to the hospital-based disaster response.

Outcomes: Implementation of a tabletop disaster planning simulation in one nursing program replaced the traditional lecture-based disaster content.

Conclusion: An unfolding tabletop disaster planning simulation is a comprehensive, interactive, sustainable, and low-cost teaching strategy that draws on nursing students' fundamental knowledge. Students had the opportunity to practice clinical skills required during a disaster, such as communication, prioritization, teamwork, and delegation.

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