GMercyU Students Participate in Disaster Simulation


If you could hear the sound of blood-curdling screams echoing through the air, you may have been a potential witness to a horrific explosion in the Lady Garden. Fake blood and glass, projectile objects, and fake severed limbs were scattered around the simulation scene. All of this was part of a well-designed and simulated explosion hosted by GMercyU’s BSN Nursing Program.

Simulations are hosted by GMercyU’s BSN Nursing Program to gauge senior-level nursing students’ understanding of the core material and to better assess their knowledge of the skills garnered in the program. Through these simulations, students can practice putting their skills to the test; an attempt to boost their confidence in themselves as Registered Nurses. While the explosion simulation was hosted by a nursing instructor, a student nurse took over the simulation and ran the event.

The explosion simulation featured 18 casualties for the eight first responders to evaluate and tag immediately. Of the 18 casualties, two were confirmed to be deceased and one was in imminent and critical condition. This essentially meant that she was alive, but nothing could be done in order to save her life. This provided the important objective of the simulation, which was to provide the resources and essential care necessary for the good of most people.

This year’s simulation was held in Maguire Hall. Students used the Lady Garden as the site of the explosion and then the triage casualties were moved to an open classroom in Maguire Hall, and eventually, those casualties were moved to the simulation lab where they were assessed and received medical treatment in a quick, albeit efficient and effective manner. New to the team this year was Bob Feldman, GMercyU Simulation Technician, who worked to ensure the equipment was running and could provide supplies when needed.

This simulation is one of my favorite simulations. It synthesizes the past two years of nursing school as students feverishly care for victims of a disaster.

—Megan Mustachio, MSN, RN, WCC, CHSE, Assistant Professor, Simulation Faculty/Coordinator 

Professor Megan Mustachio emphasized that nursing students are introduced to characters who are both physically injured and at the same time suffering traumatic emotional stress and fear. The students engaging in the simulation apply the essential skills learned in both their sophomore-level and junior-level nursing courses and clinical rotations to best provide the care for patients.

“I believe, wholeheartedly, that this simulation is the work of a compilation of education with a well-rounded faculty and topped off by incredible senior-level instruction,” Professor Mustachio said.

Disaster simulations such as the explosion event help engage senior-level nursing students in real-life scenarios where they can best apply the superior skills that are garnered here at Gwynedd Mercy University.

“Personally, as a black tag causality, my experience was very eye-opening and allowed me to have a tiny glimpse of a disaster. We approached this experience with the knowledge given in our classes but then needed to take our information and apply it,” Grace Cooney '24, a senior nursing student, said.