UW-Eau Claire nursing students participate in mass immunization drill

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire community/public health nursing students at both the nursing program's Eau Claire and Marshfield sites held a mass vaccination drill on Thursday, Nov. 15. The event, in the Clinical Learning Center, was organized in collaboration with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, Eau Claire County Emergency Management, and Western Wisconsin Public Health Readiness Consortium.

The drill was a coordinated, innovative, active simulation exercise using a closed point of distribution (POD) mass immunization clinic as a scenario. Included in the simulation was utilization of Blue Jeans web conferencing technology and iPads to communicate with a simulated emergency operations center (EOC) manned by nursing students located at the Marshfield site.

Student learning objectives included being able to identify examples of major public health threats requiring emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts, identify the stages in emergency preparedness, and recognize the framework and interdisciplinary nature of the Incident Command System (ICS). The student nurses had the opportunity to practice professional nursing roles and responsibilities required when planning and operationalizing a closed POD. They also had to consider the ethical and legal issues nurses face during an emergency preparedness situation.

Students at the Eau Claire site were assigned to stations aligned for triage, registration, education, screening, dispensing and checkout. During the simulation, some students were assigned specific roles to enact situations nurses may be faced with during an actual event. Similarly, students at the Marshfield site were faced with a multitude of issues ranging from addressing the financial implications of the need for on-site staff to the potential for running out of supplies. To facilitate learning, iPads were set up at the various stations to capture the real-time exchange of information and observation so the EOC students in Marshfield were aware of the status occurring at the POD immunization clinic in Eau Claire.

After the simulation, a hot wash discussion was facilitated to discuss what would occur in a real situation and to identify what went well and what could have been improved during the simulation.